What to Look for When Comparing Cars
This can be an expensive mistake - but luckily, since you're reading this article, you're probably concerned about costs that really matter.
Depreciation CostOne of the most important things to look at when comparing vehicles is their depreciation cost. This is the biggest expense when it comes to buying a new car and one you should really pay attention to.
On average, foreign vehicles seem to depreciate less than the domestics. The difference in cost can be staggering in some cases. For example, the Honda Accord will typically retain about 55% of its value after 3 years. A similarly equipped and priced Chevrolet Impala will retain only about 40% of its value. Over this 3 year period, you will pay over $100 per month more in depreciation cost with the Impala. These are serious numbers when you look at it that way.
Most new cars come with at least a 36 month/36,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty. These warranties will cover anything that goes wrong with the vehicle during this period, excluding normal wear and tear items such as the brake pads, battery, and tires.
Some manufacturers offer longer powertrain warranties such as Hyundai's 10 year/100,000 mile coverage. When comparing two vehicles, it makes sense to take a look at what kind of coverage they come with.
Cost of Maintenance
Another factor you should consider is cost of maintenance. Some cars are going to need more regular maintenance which can really add up.
To compare these costs, call up local dealers and ask to speak to someone in the service department. Let them know you're interested in a certain model and ask how much it costs to maintain the vehicle according to the manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule.
Also find out the mileage intervals recommended for regular service within the first 3 years. Note that some manufacturers offer free maintenance for the first 2 or 3 years of ownership. These savings can really add up.
3 Steps Every Car Buyer Needs to Take to Save Maximum MoneyThe key to getting the best deal is to gather price or lease bids from as many local dealers as possible. Then shop that best price around until no one can beat it. Here are the steps:
Step 1 Get Prices From My Trusted NetworkSelect the vehicle you're interested in to see if there are local dealers in my network who will provide you with their best upfront price. You will get direct access to an internet sales manager who you can further negotiate with online (no need to visit dealership).
Step 2 Get Prices From TrueCar / CarsDirectTrueCar, and CarsDirect are my top 2 online price quote recommendations. These services show you pre-negotiated prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually pretty decent. But remember, you can still negotiate further.
Step 3 Complete my ChecklistFollow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.
- Gregg Fidan
Each week, I'll keep you up-to-date on the latest car deals and news that might affect your purchase. This includes...
- Best Rebates, Incentives, and Lease Deals
- Latest Car Buying Scams and Tricks
- The Best & Worst Time to Buy a Car
- Which Cars You Should Avoid