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5 Must Ask Questions When Visiting a Car Dealership

The Truth About Cars
You did your research and are ready to go get your new car. However, even with sharpened negotiation skills, a decision on whether you’re going to lease or buy, and a firm idea of what features you want, it may still feel intimidating stepping foot into a car dealership.

You want to make sure you’re completely confident in your decision before you sign those final papers. To help get prepared, here are five questions you should definitely ask when visiting any car dealership.

What’s the Mileage?

Be it a new or used vehicle, always verify the mileage. This is especially important for those who may have seen the car on the internet and are seeing it for the first time in person.

If the car has less than ten miles, then it was most likely delivered to that specific dealer and is brand new. Even cars labeled as “new” go on plenty of test drives or can be a “dealer’s trade”, meaning that the dealer got the car from another car dealership. So be sure to verify the miles on that odometer.

If the odometer has more than 300 miles, then you should negotiate for a lower price. Also, be sure to ask for the “in service date” of the vehicle. This indicates the day that the warranty coverage begins. In most cases (but not always), it is on the date you purchase the car.

Knowing the vehicle’s mileage will help you determine how long you can have this vehicle before you need to purchase a new one. The mileage is more or less a prime indicator of the car’s value. The higher the mileage, the more maintenance work it may need.

Checking the mileage can also help determine if the car has been loaned out as a rental or courtesy car. Knowing this may also help bring the price of the vehicle down.

What’s the Actual Cost of the Car?

If you want to avoid paying up to thousands more than needed, make sure to ask the dealer the “out the door” cost of the vehicle. This question flushes out any hidden fees.

These fees are hidden in the contract and are in addition to the cost of the car. They can include state and local tax, documentation fee, and a department of motor vehicles fee. Sometimes these fees are way more than they should be (especially if the dealer is giving you an attractive price on the vehicle).

Asking for the actual cost of the car will steer the distraction of the monthly cost payments and bring the focus back onto the car total. A salesperson may break down the information to you in monthly payments as these smaller payments look less intimidating than the total cost. Keep your focus on the actual cost of the vehicle.

What’s the Warranty Coverage?

Warranties that come with new vehicles are a dying perk in the auto industry. However, some car dealerships like Royal Moore Toyota come with every new Toyota for no additional charge. They offer this lifetime limited non-factory warranty for as long as you own your car.

Every dealership is different and may not offer a warranty like this.

Some warranty contracts may require you to do a regular check for scheduled maintenance in order for your warranty to be valid. Take note of repairs that are excluded from the coverage. You can also ask if the warranty comes with any free maintenance and for details on its length. There are usually different tiers that cover different options depending on price, so make sure you know what you are looking for.

Can I Test Drive the Vehicle?

Before you drive off the lot with your newly owned vehicle, always make sure to test drive it first.

With so much new technology constantly changing, you should definitely test drive the vehicle you have your eyes on to see if there are any new features that you are uncomfortable with.

When you test drive a car, you’ll be able to feel important details such as how the steering wheel feels when it turns, how the brakes respond, and the comfort level of the seats to your body.

During a test drive, you’ll be in the front seat so keep an eye out for any warning signs. Issues such as a turned on check-engine repair signal, a worn out gear or unusual engine sounds can usually be detected while you drive the vehicle first hand.

If you have kids or a partner coming along for the ride, get their input in how they feel in the other passenger seats. After all, you may be driving this vehicle for a while.

Which Car Best Fits My Needs?

Have the dealer show you around the cars on a lot to see what fits your lifestyle. Let the dealer know you're what you’re looking for and see if they have anything on hand for you to check out.

Buying a car may feel like an emotional moment, so make sure to check in with yourself to see if this car makes you happy. Sometimes people buy cars that fit their most basic needs, and other times they walk away with something that has the extra features that they didn’t know they needed until they saw the vehicle.

Seeing all the options available will help make you more confident in your choice.

Car dealerships can feel really intimidating, especially when salespeople are hovering around. Fight the intimidation by being prepared and knowing what you want for before you arrive.

Start by looking online to see if your dream vehicle is available and then visit for a test drive armed with the top must-ask questions before purchase.

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