The Ever-Evolving Landscape of Car Buying
For decades, the process of purchasing a new vehicle followed a simple formula. People would visit a dealership in person, negotiate a price, complete the purchase, and drive the car off the lot. However, in today’s world, there are numerous car buying options available that can leave consumers with many questions. Whether you’re a first-time or a veteran car buyer, it’s important to understand the ever-evolving landscape of the auto industry. To help you prepare for your next car shopping experience, here are five tips from Renée Horne, the Chief Marketing and Customer Experience Officer at Chase Auto.
1. Set Your Budget and Stick to It
When buying a car, there are various expenses to consider, such as the purchase cost, insurance, maintenance, and fuel. Knowing how much you can afford is crucial to avoid stretching your finances. It’s recommended to use budgeting tools and tips to help you save for your purchase. Chase provides a variety of resources to assist you in setting and sticking to your budget.
2. Timing Can Save You Money
Like many other products, vehicles have price cycles. The end of the month and the end of the model or calendar year often present better deals, as dealers may need to meet quotas or clear out inventory. If you’re considering buying a car in September, instead of going for the 2024 model, you might want to consider the 2023 model. Additionally, holiday sales, like Labor Day, can offer additional savings. To ensure you get the best price, it’s advisable to consider multiple vehicles and shop around at several dealerships.
3. Test Drive to Find the Right Fit
Before making a decision, it’s essential to test drive the vehicle to ensure it meets your needs. Take the time to see how the vehicle looks and feels, try out the interior systems, and consider if it fits your lifestyle. Schedule test drive appointments to secure the availability of the car you’re interested in. Ideally, try out a few vehicles in the same day or week to keep your impressions fresh. It’s also helpful to simulate your daily driving conditions as much as possible, such as bringing any car seats or equipment you use regularly. After the test drive, inquire about the car’s warranty, fuel, and maintenance requirements. You can even explore the possibility of getting an extended test drive or seeking a second opinion from your own mechanic.
4. Choose Between Financing and Leasing
Before finalizing your purchase, you need to determine whether you prefer financing or leasing. Both options come with their own set of benefits. With a loan, you have no mileage limit, and you’re free to customize and modify the car as you wish. Once you complete your finance payments, you become the owner of the vehicle. On the other hand, leases typically have lower upfront costs compared to loan payments. At the end of the lease term, you have the choice to return, purchase, or trade the vehicle. However, it’s important to note that most leases have a mileage limit, so it may not be the best option if you frequently travel long distances.
5. Consider Electric Vehicles (EVs)
With major manufacturers now focusing on electric vehicles (EVs), there’s a wider range of options available than ever before. However, before making the switch, there are several factors to consider. The cost, maintenance, range, and charging logistics of EVs vary. On average, it costs about half as much to fuel an electric vehicle compared to a gasoline-powered one. However, electricity costs can also differ based on location, driving style, and battery size. Additionally, the upfront cost of an EV may be higher than that of a traditional gas vehicle, but federal and local tax incentives can help offset that cost. In terms of maintenance, EVs generally require less upkeep. The batteries often come with 8-10 year warranties, surpassing the average ownership period for most cars. However, EV tires may degrade faster due to the weight of the battery. It’s also important to understand the range of an EV, which is typically around 250 miles with a fully charged battery. This range depends on various factors such as the make and model of the vehicle, weather conditions, traffic, and driving style. Additionally, the availability of charging infrastructure varies from one city or state to another. Planning your trips and mapping out charging stations ahead of time can help alleviate any concerns about running out of power.
In conclusion, it’s vital to be open to the different options available in the car market. Conduct thorough research and utilize the available resources to understand what kind of car and financing will suit you and your family best. Chase offers various online car shopping, financing, and education services to assist you in your car buying journey. To learn more, visit autofinance.chase.com.
 U.S. Department of Energy