Last month we gave tips for taking care of your new or pre-owned vehicle. This month, let’s back up a bit and start at the beginning. Summer is a great time to purchase a new import and cruise the open road. If you’re planning on purchasing a new car, what are some must-take steps in this large (and expensive) decision? For a used car, what do you need to know about the vehicle before making a deal? Let us help you break it down.

New Vehicle

Is there anything better than a brand new vehicle? From the smell, to the sheen of the paint, to the pristine interior—it’s hard to beat. But buying a new vehicle isn’t just walking onto a lot and driving away in the first car  that turns your head. Here are a few steps you should take to ensure you get the right car, at the right price.

  1. Know what you can afford… and try not to stray.

Trust us on this one—you’ll enjoy the vehicle much more if you can afford it. Payments that are too high can quickly diminish the fun of owning a new vehicle.

  1. Do your research.

When it comes to purchasing a new car, the Internet is your best friend. Read reviews of makes and models, as well as dealers. Know the options and colors available so you have a solid grasp of your available choices on the lot. Extra points if you find out the dealer’s price (or invoice)… then you’ll have a better idea of your bargaining power.

  1. Compare base models to luxury models.

This isn’t a fun question, but where can you compromise? Sometimes the base model is a better deal than the bells-and-whistles version. Do premium alloy wheels and a moon roof warrant a significantly higher monthly payment?

  1. Ask questions!

Use your time to ask the salesperson all the details about the vehicle. After all, the dealer stands to make a nice sum of money from you. You should feel comfortable with the potential purchase.

Pre-Owned Vehicle

There is nothing wrong with purchasing a used vehicle! With some patience and flexibility, you can find great deals on new-ish pre-owned vehicles with low miles. Think of it this way—someone else has already paid the depreciation and now you reap the benefits. That said, a pre-owned vehicle comes with a bit of mystery. Has it been in an accident? Is it a beauty on the outside, but a lemon on the inside? Here are a few best practices when purchasing a new-to-you vehicle.

  1. Inspect the body thoroughly.

This one is easy: check the paint, and look for dents, chips, sagging tires, and cracked windows. Don’t forget to look in the trunk.

  1. Check under the hood.

This one might be easy for the car-savvy individual, but for novices, a trip to your trusted mechanic might be the best bet. If purchasing from an individual or dealer, ask if you may take it to Rolf’s Import Auto for an inspection. If they refuse, this is a red flag. Best to move on to the next vehicle.

  1. Test drive the car.

This is a non-negotiable. It’s crucial that you get a feel for the handling and performance of the vehicle on the road.

  1. Check the service maintenance.

If purchasing at a lot, receiving a service maintenance log should be no problem. A little trickier, however, is getting a clear record from an individual seller. Hopefully they’ve kept careful notes. If not, it’s a judgment call on your part, but buyer beware.

Whether you purchase a new or pre-owned vehicle, we strongly recommend visiting Rolf’s Import Auto. We’ll put together a service plan tailored to your unique vehicle. Plus, you can join our Customer Care program and receive sweet benefits now and in the future.

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