Buying a car is one of the important decisions you’ll make in your lifetime. A car can be the difference between a hassle-free transportation and a constant scuffle for buses and tricycles every morning. Nonetheless, I’ve heard my fair share of stories that touch from people who regret the decision to buy a car.
One of the regrets, especially from first-time buyers is that they bought the car for much more than it is inherently worth. This piece seeks to provide you with 4 tips that can save you lots of money when buying a car.
Comparison Shop on the Internet
Car buyers now have an advantage over car dealers because of the access to information that the Internet provides. Comparison-shopping will let you know the inherent value of a car in order know if the dealer is quoting a fair or exorbitant price.
You can have a firm idea of how much a car is worth even before stepping out of your house to a dealer shop. The auto section of Nairaland.com offers you a wealth of information about the going prices for (used) cars. You can also check for prices on Carmudi.com and Cheki.com.ng. However, I’ll warn you to be careful on OLX.com because that’s where you’ll get BMW Series 5 going for N200,000.
Last Year’s Models are Still in Vogue
Another thing that causes people to lose money when buying a car is a fixation on a particular brand or model. Unless you are buying something along the lines of a Ferrari, Maserati or Lamborghini, a car is primarily a utility that should take you from point A to point B. Hence, the world won’t come crashing if you bought a 2013 model instead of a 2014 model.
You can save literally tons of money on your next car purchase if you opt for one of the previous year’s models. Interestingly, you won’t find much difference in the models made with one-year intervals. The noticeable differences are in the trim, headlamps, and add-ons in gadgetry. However, those minor upgrades could cost you an arm and leg without adding much value to your ownership of the car.
Think about the Maintenance Costs
Probably the easiest way to save money when buying a car is to consider the maintenance costs before you buy the car. The cost of keeping a car on the road is as important as the cost of making the original purchase. A car is no good if it spends six months of the year at the mechanics’ place because you are still raising money to fix a problem.
Hence, before buying a car you should research the average cost of keeping the car on the road per month, starting with its fuel efficiency. A V6 engine will offer you impressive power, but can you afford its fuel guzzling efficiency? Even minor things such as changing oil, fuel filters, air filters, and spark plugs can leave a dent on your bank account. You should also know the kind of problems that are common to the particular brand or model that you want to buy in order to avoid surprises. Peugeot cars should have their timing belts changed after 60,000 KM, Nissan Altima (2001-2003) are prone to alternator failures, and a Honda Accord (2003- 2006) can disgrace you with a torn camshaft at any point in time.
When Buying Used Cars, Everything is Negotiable
You can also save money when buying a car by bargaining the price until the seller agrees to a “fair” deal. When you are buying a used car “Tokunbo or Nigerian used”, you should use the fact that the car is not new to your advantage.
Is the car showing a rather high mileage? Are there code error faults on the dashboard? What about dents and scratches? Beat the price down. You can also have them remove those alloy wheels for regular wheels if it will save you N100,000. Okay, if the dealer won’t shift an inch, ask him to bear the cost of making the vehicle particulars or the cost of servicing the car.