Determine your NEEDS before your WANTS
There is a big difference between what you need in a car or truck and what you want.
You need to determine your needs first since that is the essential reason you are purchasing your new vehicle.
Once you determine what you really need in your vehicle, you can then list the wants in your purchase and prioritize them from high to low.
This will keep you focused on purchasing the right vehicle for you.
A needs assessment should include not only the features you need/want, but you should also look at the broad appeals that really are important to you.
They can include;  Safety, Performance, Appearance, Function, Resale, Luxury and more.
If your sales professional knows these things, they can better assist you in selecting the vehicle that meets your needs.

Prepare a Budget
When preparing a budget you need to take into consideration several factors.
Think of it as a Transportation Budget.

  • Is this vehicle replacing an existing vehicle or is it in an additional vehicle
  • If this vehicle is replacing a vehicle, take into consideration maintenance, fuel use increase of decrease, warranty.
  • Insurance costs – increase or decrease.Sometimes a range is a good way to look at budget.

Give yourself some flexibility to arrange your budget.

Research the vehicles you are considering.
There are many ways to research the vehicles you are looking at.
First of all you need to research vehicle content and availability.
The best place to do this is starting at the manufacturers web site.
They usually have sophisticated build a car sites that are great for creating your next vehicle.
From there you can use one of the many research sites like Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds
These sites a excellent for comparing vehicles and getting comparitive pricing information.

Determine the value of your trade prior to going to the dealership.
Take into consideration all unusual wear and the damage.
Remember this is a wholesale value.
The dealership needs to bring the vehicle up to strick standards and then sell it at a retail price.

Come to the dealership with the information you have gathered.
Be upfront about your research with your sales professional. It will make for a smoother sales process.
A better informed consumer can make the process stress free for all and help you purchase the vehicle that meets your needs at a competitive price.
The sales professionals job is to make sure they help you select the vehicle that meets your needs.
Their success is based on you being so satisfied that you will become a repeat customer.
Additional tips unique to pre-owned cars
There is always a little more buyer beware in shopping for a pre-owned vehicle from a non-dealer.
Dealerships have strick Wisconsin Buyers Guide requirements to sell pre-owned vehicles.
Have your dealer check CarFax or CarCheck to see if there are any major accident issues or problems with the vehicle.
New car dealers are a great place to buy your next pre-owned vehicle.  They are the only ones who can offer factory backed pre-owned certification programs.