How to Handle Holiday Car Shopping

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Is a new car on your wish list this holiday season? If it is, you’re in luck! December can be a great month to buy a car, as business is slow and dealers are trying to meet their yearly quotas. If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, these five tips will help you make this exciting purchase over the holidays.

Car Shopping

  1. Research, research, research. Before you even set foot on the lot, you can do a lot of your research online to find the right car for you – and for your budget – so that when you finally talk to a sales person you already know what you’re looking for and how much you can spend. If you’re not sure what your budget is, there are many online tools  or used car dealers in San Diego that can help you factor in all the costs associated with car ownership, such as monthly payments, car insurance, gas and regular maintenance.
  1. Timing is everything. Just like December is one of the best times of year to buy a car, there are also better times of the week and times of the day to do your shopping. At the end of the month, sales people may be more willing to make a deal, as they are hoping to meet their monthly targets, and at the end of the day, they may be looking for a quick sale before they go home.
  1. Take it out for a spin. If you’re buying a new car, you’ll likely need to drive it for around 10 years to make up for how much it will depreciate in value. If you’re going to be driving something for that long, you better like it! The best way to tell if you’ll enjoy a car is to take it for a test drive. If there is snow on the ground, you’ll have the added benefit of seeing how it feels in winter conditions.
  1. Negotiate like a pro. For a lot of car buyers, negotiating can be an intimidating prospect, but you’ve already laid the groundwork for a successful deal by doing your research beforehand and choosing a time to buy that will give you some leverage. Before you head into the dealership to make your final purchase, review your research so that you can be confident in your knowledge. When it comes to the negotiation itself, take a cue from this professional  who offers the following  tips: set the tone from the beginning with confident body language and a firm handshake; avoid using soft language (like “maybe” and “probably”); and don’t fill the awkward silences by talking more than you need to. Finally, be prepared to walk away if the cost doesn’t fit your budget.
  1. Don’t forget your winter tires. You might not want to pay the extra cost for a set of winter tires when you’re already shelling out a big chunk of change for your new car, but in this case, it’s worth the money. Winter tires are a must-have if you’re driving in temperatures below 7 degrees celsius, as all-season tires lose their grip in colder temperatures. On top of keeping you safe, installing winter tires will prolong the life of your all-season tires and, depending on where you live, could qualify you for a discount on your car insurance.

Buying a new car is a big investment, but if you play your cards right, it could also be the best gift you get this year.

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