Car research. Pretty fun stuff, right? No, okay, maybe not the most exhilarating practice on the planet, but when it comes to car buying, it’s better to do the research and know the facts. Don’t just walk out into a dealership, that’s a rookie move. Don’t just hop on the internet and search randomly about the car you like or cars you may think you like. Google magic can’t protect us from bias, opinions, and uncited information. That’s why you need to know how to research for a car and then make use of that research for an informed buy.
Auto Manufacturer Sites
Assuming you already have a car type in size (sedan, coupe, SUV, crossover, truck, or van) then this would be a good place to start. And if you don’t have one in mind, there’s always the ability to test drive. Regardless, when shopping for a car, the website for the brand of car you’re looking at will have the most information. Simply hop onto the sites of any of the seven manufacturers available at Miami Lakes Automall, be it MitsubishiCars.com or Kia.com or Dodge.com, and you can find all about any of their vehicles by clicking on it and going to the specs page or comparing models.
There, one can look at the different trims of a car model. A trim is basically a “level”, once called “series”, to differentiate between the quality of trims. For instance, the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport ES 2.0 is the base, or low-end trim. Whereas the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport GT is the high-end. Luckily, if looking at this model, one doesn’t have to shoot for the high-end trim for some goodies. Mitsubishi Motors added a Limited Edition trim to the Outlander Sport, the only one to have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and it’s just a step up from the base trim in price.
Back to the specs page though, and make use of it to compare the features between model trims. With side-by-side comparisons, one can make sure they find a car with the features they want and at the price they can afford. We discussed budgeting for a car this month, so be sure to take a look in case you find something just a tad higher than your price range.
Cross-Check with Independent Sites
Now that you’ve been to the auto manufacturer’s site, go to a new site that is a little less biased. Sure, all those fancy models and features sound great, but what do other people have to say about them? You want to hear it from an actual owner how good this car is don’t you? That’s where independent sites like Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book come in. Both of these websites provide reviews, sometimes in-depth reviews, of every vehicle out there.
It’s good to cross-check the facts about a car between various sites. One reviewer may be biased, or even paid, to say all the good stuff about a vehicle. So it’s always best to look at different sources. Not only that, but read customer reviews, and don’t just look at the good ones. Read the bad reviews too. Get the full picture about the car you have in mind, because by the end of your research, you may be looking at something completely different.
Draw Up Comparisons
Alright, after looking at the auto manufacturer sites and independent sites, conclude on your own comparisons between different models and different brands. Narrow down the choices. Once you do, go back to a website like Kelley Blue Book and find out that car’s value. Compare the value Kelley Blue Book says to the price tag at the dealership — does it seem reasonable?
This is where it gets tricky. Puff up your chest and practice your poker face, because after doing all that research and gathering all that information, it’ll be useless if a price tag is all it takes to sign some papers. Take the knowledge you have from all of your sources when going into a dealership. Plan to negotiate. Know what the car is worth and what you can afford, but keep both numbers close. If you know what a vehicle is worth, then you know how much not to pay.
Do the research, find the perfect car for you at the best price, and be prepared to negotiate. Have any other tips? Let us know on social media.
Photo Source/Copyright: MitsubishiCars.com; KBB.com; Jordan A. Rodriguez
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