How to Buy a Car Online
These days, everything for sale seems to be posted online, and that includes cars. Buying a car online has been made easier though, thanks to car advertisement portals that offer vehicle listings from local car dealers and private sellers. Some websites also offer car research tools that provide car specifications and loan calculators, making your online purchase journey an uncomplicated task.
So how does one get the best car bargain available online? Here is a simple guide so you can buy a car online that fits your budget and lifestyle.
The best car model for me
The first thing you want to ask yourself is what is the best car model for you. You can ask your friends or relatives who have previously or currently own a vehicle. Some of the questions you may want to ask are: How fuel efficient is the car? Does it have enough interior space? Is it reliable or does it breakdown easily? How is the after sales service of the brand? And don't forget to ask about the availability of its spare parts.
If you are using a search engine, you may want to check out some car review websites that offer some of the best opinions in the country. Carmudi Philippines not only has car reviews but also user reviews, detailing personal experiences with specific car dealers throughout the car buying journey. C! Magazine, the longest running car journal in the Philippines, also offers a comprehensive review of the current cars available on the market. Make sure that you have at least three cars in mind before moving to the next step.
Figure out your budget
Be honest with yourself about how much dough you can produce for the car. If you can pay it in cash, do not hesitate. If you are short on cash, most car dealers offer financial options such as monthly payments. However, be aware that you are also paying a marginal sum (as interest) when you use this option.
As much as possible, figure out the loan payments the car dealer or financing company is offering by calculating the total amount (original price plus interest) you are going to pay, divided by how many months you will pay. Compare this figure with how much you earn per month and decide whether your budget can allow the purchase. You could use this insightful post about car finance to determine the price range of the car you could possibly afford based on your current salary.
Inquire about the car
The next step is to inquire about the car from the dealer. Websites, like Carmudi usually show their contact and address details. Firstly, cross-check whether they still have the car you are interested in and if it fits the description as posted online. Also, ask the dealer if there have been previous inquiries about that particular car so you can see if other people are interested in purchasing it.
You can also ask questions such as: How many people have previously owned the car (if it’s used or second hand)? Is there some equipment that may not have been posted online? How long has the car been in their inventory? When can you visit their showroom or lot? Getting some answers for these questions is essential for your decision making. Set the appointment and follow through.
Grab a mechanic friend
Visiting a car dealer for the first time might be an overwhelming experience for newbie car buyers, especially if you don’t know much about cars. If you have a mechanic friend bring him along to your planned visit to the car dealer’s place or use your friend’s network to find someone who is knowledgeable about cars. Upon contacting him, explain or show him the car model you are trying to buy, especially its mileage and specifications. Listen to their feedback about what to expect from the car.
Visit the car dealer
The last step of your buyer journey is to visit the car dealer’s showroom or lot. If you have your mechanic friend with you, he can help you assess the car thoroughly. Some of the things you may want to look for are dents, rust, scratches, how faded the tires are, and some indications that the car was flooded.
Always ask for a test drive, especially if you are doubtful about whether the car will perform well on the road or want to see if it is compatible with your driving level. Onboard the car, listen to the engine to see if it makes any worrisome noises, check to see if the car is hard to steer, and if the gear transitions run smoothly. Also check if all the electrical components are working, especially the air conditioning.
Sign the contract
If you are satisfied with everything about the car, the last step is to sign the documents pertaining to its sale. When dealing with a private seller, always ask for at least a deed of sale, so that the car can be transferred into your name. If you are buying from a car dealer, make sure that you are on the same page of the deal and always read the documents' fine print. The only thing left to do is to drive your new car to its next home.