25 Tips for Easier Family Car Shopping

Before Heading Out to the Dealership

1. Yes, it’s exciting to be on the verge of buying a new car. But don’t just rush off to the dealership expecting the vehicle you saw online will be in stock, ready for a test-drive and purchase. It might not be there, even if the dealership’s website says it is. That’s because online inventories can lag behind what’s actually on the lot. Call the dealership first to make sure the vehicle is indeed still for sale.

2. Will you have your kids with you? If so, tell the salesperson when you plan to arrive, and ask him to have the car up front ready for a demonstration and test-drive. Some dealerships have massive inventory lots, and they are often off-site. You don’t want to wait a half-hour to have the right vehicle pulled up from one of these lots, especially if you have bored kids in tow.

3. If your schedule allows, do your in-person shopping on a weekday. It’s not as busy and you’ll get more personal time with the vehicle to check out the features, from engine to infotainment system. When you’re buying a car for the whole family to enjoy, it’s worth taking extra time to look things over.

4. If possible, have the whole crew come along. You’ll want them to try out the car in which they’ll spend hours over the next few years. Maybe it’s the one that will become their first car.

5. Remember to bring along your research, whether on paper or on your smartphone. And just in case you do buy that very day, remember to bring your driver’s license, proof of insurance and approved car loan from your bank or credit union. (Pre-approval is a good idea. If the dealer can improve on the terms, so much the better.)

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