I bought a new car! And I have some first-time car buying tips for you too. But first, a eugoogly for my previous car:
Dear Pontiac Sunfire,
I’ll never forget the 12 years we spent together. From high school in Michigan to college in Ohio, to a new start in North Carolina, you were there. Your crank windows and lack of remote-controlled anything was so convenient, and that time your power steering went out in the middle of a downtown intersection was thrilling. But most of all, I’ll always remember
Paristhe way I had to play my MP3s through the radio, scanning for a new empty station every time I entered a new zip code.
Thanks for everything, and also thanks for nothing,
I’ve had a new car in the back of my mind for years now, but I didn’t want to purchase a new car when my old car was paid off and running just fine. Unfortunately over the past 2-3 years or so, there had been more and more trips to the repair shop, and each time was more expensive than the time before.
The last straw was when I braked hard behind a jerk who cut me off and felt my brakes kind of…slip. I took it to the shop that afternoon and the first thing the mechanic asked me was, “Are you from up north?” Apparently there was nearly irreparable (well, it could have been repaired, but AT WHAT COST) rust and corrosion from the harsh winters and salty roads. So I drove it right over to a Kia dealership and traded it in.
I purchased a 2016 Kia Soul base model in Shadow Black (it’s black with subtle red metallic shimmer) and I am in love with it! A few months ago my mom and I took a blog trip in a rental car that happened to be a Kia Soul and I’ve wanted one ever since. I like its quirky look and that it’s a spacious hatchback. Plus, it’s equipped with Bluetooth and a great sound system, both of which were very important to me, a self-professed Spotify junkie. The interior is spacious with lots of head- and leg-room – it can even comfortably seat a 6’6″ passenger!
I’m very happy with my purchase. But I’m not just here to brag about it (only a little). I also wanted to share a few first-time car buying tips that can help you out if you’re in the market for a car, too!
- Do your research online. Narrow it down to a few car options that will suit your lifestyle and budget first, then test drive them. In my case, I definitely wanted a Kia Soul since Nissan stopped manufacturing my other contender, the Cube, a couple of years ago. I looked into the prices of the 2016 Kia Soul at all trim levels and used a payment calculator to determine the price I’d be willing to pay. Some great resources are /r/whatcarshouldibuy, /r/askcarsales, and Edmunds car comparison tool.
- Get insurance quotes for the cars you’re deciding between. Many insurance companies give you free quotes when you are considering a change to your policy. Make sure you can afford the new rate!
- If you’re trading in your old car, look up its value and consider selling it by owner – you might be able to get more for it that way. If you trade it in at the dealership, you’ll want to ensure you’re getting a fair price for it.
- Don’t let the salesperson get you to tell them what you want to pay monthly. They can use this against you to get you to take out a longer loan, so even though your payments might look low, you’re paying more over the life of the loan when you incorporate interest. Instead, determine your monthly budget and input it into a car payment calculator to determine your ideal purchase price. My mom told me this tip – thanks mom!
- Don’t be afraid to negotiate. When they present you with a number, you don’t have to accept it! With your ideal purchase price in mind, give them a number lower than that and let them meet you in the middle.
- Don’t seem desperate. Unfortunately, I was a little desperate when I went to buy this car, but I had still done my research since I had planned to buy a car in the next few months, and at the dealership I acted like I wasn’t in a rush. Don’t let them smell your desperation – desperate people are more easily taken advantage of.
- You don’t have to buy that extended warranty. When you go to sign your contract with finance, they will try to upsell you on a longer or more comprehensive warranty than comes with your car. You don’t have to buy it unless you want to.
By using all these tips, I was able to buy my 2016 Kia Soul for less than MSRP! I feel pretty cool right about now.