How to Buy a Car

October 18, 2013

Learning how to buy a car requires considering many factors. Seeking out a certain model, having a particular kind of budget, wanting to obtain particular options--there are many things that influence how one may want to buy a car. This article will cover different ways of buying a car.

5 Steps to Buying a Car from the Manufacturer

If you're shopping for a new car, you may choose to buy a car directly from the vehicle manufacturer. Buying a car directly from the manufacturer allows you to customize a specific new car truck to your particular needs and allows you to choose specific accessories and options. Therefore, here's a quick guide to help you get started with your new car purchase directly from the manufacturer.

Visit the Manufacturer Website
First, you will need to visit the manufacturer's main website on the Internet. To find the website address of the manufacturer you're interested in, simply type the name of the car manufacturer in your favorite search engine and click on the manufacturer link displayed on your web page.

Design Your Car
Almost all new car manufacturers now give you the ability to customize any vehicle directly on their website. Therefore, you'll need to choose the vehicle you're interested in and mix-and-match accessories and options that suit your purposes and needs.

Submit Your Build Request
Once you have customized the vehicle, you'll need to submit a request for the vehicle to be built to the manufacturer. This will generally involve giving the manufacturer needed information such as your name, address, telephone number and other relevant contact information.

Arrange Financing
Before the manufacturer begins manufacturing a new vehicle for you, most will require that you secure financing. Or, if you will be paying cash, the manufacturer may require a fairly substantial deposit to begin manufacturing your customized vehicle. However, in most cases, you can arrange financing directly on the manufacturer's website to save some time, and the manufactures finance company may also offer you a very good rate as well.

Arrange for Pickup of Your Vehicle
After you have completed all the steps above, the manufacturer will build your new vehicle and arrange to have it shipped to the new car dealership nearest you. In fact, after you place the order for your vehicle, the dealership should contact you directly.

Find the New Car that’s Right for You >>

Depending upon the make and model vehicle that you have chosen, as well as the additional accessories and options, the time required to assemble the vehicle may take from two weeks to two or three months. Therefore, you should contact the manufacturer directly and ask how long your vehicle will take to manufacture.

Benefits of Buying a Car from Overseas

When it comes to buying a car, there are plenty of different options to be had depending on what exactly you're looking for. Sometimes exotic cars and custom cars can only be found in certain places around the globe. Not only does buying a car overseas increase the selection of foreign vehicles, but it may also save you money on taxes being that the car is not a product of the United States.

In countries such as Japan and Europe, there are cars offered that are not offered here in the states due to performance restrictions. For example, the Nissan Skyline was not available through purchase at dealerships in the United States until the car was converted into the Nissan GT-R with new styling for 2009. All previous models were only made available in Japan. This holds true for certain car models in other European countries as well.

New car buying overseas involves several steps that need to be taken. In most cases, foreign governments have laws that may affect your international vehicle being shipped. Be sure to check for any levies or restrictions made by both the foreign government and your own domestic government to make sure they don't affect your move. Also, be able to provide copies of your receipts to help the process. With all this in mind, you can decide on what specific vehicle you want, and then you need to find an overseas dealer that has the car. You can either have your car custom-built to your exact preference or get a factory-made version. After you decide which car you want, you will need to place a down payment. Even though it's overseas, a down payment will be required so the dealer can process the order efficiently. After the order processes, the only thing left to do is wait for your vehicle to arrive at the port it is shipped to so you can do an inspection and start driving it.

Buying a new car overseas can be more expensive depending on if it is custom or not. However, if you want a specific car that is not domestically manufactured, buying overseas proves to be a very effective car buying option. Also of note, is that in most cases, this is not a simple process and there may be many roadblocks that need to be overcome in order to register the car for use on the road.

Buying a Car vs. Buying an SUV

Buying a car is likely to be the second biggest investment you make in your life, after buying your own home. Therefore, while the car salesmen will try and have you sign up for a new vehicle right away, you need to give the decision the time and consideration it deserves, especially if you are buying a type of car which is new to you.

For example, buying an SUV is very different to buying an ordinary car as there are different criteria and details to consider, not to mention when you buy and SUV you can very easily pay a lot more than when you buy an ordinary car. So even though it seems like every car on the road today is an SUV, you still need to take into careful consideration the options and features which are right for you when you consider a new SUV for your family.

The main differences between an SUV and an ordinary car are the space inside, the ride height and the vehicle's--particularly off-road. Before you buy an SUV you need to decide which of these options are most important to you, and to what extent, because these differences can easily mean significant increases in price.

The size and the space of a new SUV can also mean you have increased seating flexibility and plenty of room for kids, their friends, the pets and your luggage. However, as soon as you increase the size of the vehicle, you are also increasing its fuel consumption and before you buy an SUV be sure you check its gas mileage. Also be aware that the gas mileage rating you see in the car yard is often an average of city and off-road driving so check all the mileage figures, with regards to the type of driving you intend to do in your new SUV.

Next, choosing a very capable SUV gives you peace of mind that it is safe and strong; not to mention an SUV which is very capable off-road will also have an increased ride height and ground clearance. However, it can cost a significant amount more for an SUV which is built stronger and tougher so there is no point choosing the vehicle rated most capable off-road if you will only be using it in the suburbs.

Other important features to look for when you buy an SUV instead of a car are access in and out of the vehicle. If you have all that space in the back you're going to fill it up, so make sure that the rear cargo area door folds flat so you can easily slide luggage, bikes and pets in and out. In the back, every brand of SUV will have a different seating and cargo configuration so make sure you are happy with the layout, and the option to have seven seats instead of five, or perhaps you want secure locking storage boxes instead?

While SUVs are as individual as any other vehicle purchase, there are some features which are unique to the segment. Therefore whether you're making the switch for better ride height or more space, make sure you get the options you need.

Saving Money by Buying a Car Out-of-State

You can often save money buying a car out of state. This is especially true in states where sales taxes are added to the purchase price of the vehicle. Finding a car to purchase out of state can be done through dealer networks and online.

Should Result in a Net Savings
Finding a car out of state to buy should result in cost savings for the purchaser. This depends however on where the car is purchased and how far it is from the buyer. Transportation costs involved in bringing the car to the new owner from out of state may be more than the cost savings in the purchase price. A buyer should be smart in calculating all of the costs that are associated with buying and taking delivery of a car purchased out of state to make sure that it results in saving money.

Contacting a Local Car Dealer
A buyer interested in buying a car out-of-state should contact a dealer in their area. The dealer can put the buyer in touch with seller groups out-of-state that have the vehicle that you are looking for. In some cases, the dealer can help you arrange for the delivery and financing of the car at a lower rate than a comparable purchase in your state.

Search Online
If this option is not available to you, you can go online and search for the car that you want to purchase out of state. It is a good idea to understand the state sales tax that may apply to your vehicle purchase. You should look to purchase a car in a state that has no or a lower vehicle sales tax than the one in the state you live. This will help produce some of the cost savings that you seek from purchasing a car out-of-state.

When you locate a car that you like that is out-of-state, make inquiries about how the car will be delivered and what it may cost you to do so. If the car is in a far away state, the cost of bringing the car to you may be prohibitive and not worth the purchase. If the seller is able to defray some or all of the costs associated with delivery, this will help increase your cost savings.

Other Considerations
There is usually no reason for a car buyer to purchase a car from another state to realize a cost savings. With a new car, the cost savings that a purchaser receives is negligible and eliminated by delivery and other charges. A new car available in a nearby state that is not available in your state may pose a compelling reason to shop over the border to purchase the car. A cost comparison should be done between the car being purchased in another state and a comparable car being purchased down the street. A car that can be purchased at home that is less expensive than a car that can be purchased out-of-state is the one that a buyer should go with.

Questions to Ask When You Buy a Car

If you want to buy a car, you should make sure you know exactly what to expect before you make your purchase. Many people take for granted what they consider to be standard convenience and safety features, such as air conditioning and side airbags, only to be unpleasantly surprised when they find that their new car has neither. You should also know traits such as gas mileage, expected depreciation and resale value before you buy. Being familiar with the terms of your manufacturer warranty is important as well. Prior to buying your new or used car, make sure you ask the seller these questions.

What Features Are Included?
The seller should have a list of standard features available for you. You should make sure that your car has important safety features like proper airbags, and convenient features like air conditioning. Depending on what conditions you plan to drive the car under, you may also want power steering, traction control and any number of other little things.

Features which aren't standard but may still be desirable are navigation and backup cameras; heated seats and windshields; leather seats; DVD player, et cetera. Depending on the car you are purchasing, these may already be installed and you will be expected to pay the extra money for them. Make sure you're getting exactly what you want before you buy and don't waste money on unwanted extras.

What Other Features are Recommended?
If any noteworthy features (safety features, especially) aren't included in your car, you should know about it. Available upgrades can be pricey, but well worth the cost.

What's the Expected Gas Mileage?
Gasoline can be a significant money sink every year, and consuming less gasoline also helps the planet. If you're concerned about your fuel consumption, make sure you're getting a car with good gas mileage. You might even consider a hybrid vehicle.

How Is This Car Expected to Depreciate?
Depreciation is the single most expensive part of owning a car. The vehicle you spent 20 grand on may be worth half that in just a few years, no matter how well you take care of it. If you're concerned about the resale value of your car when you want to trade it in, look for a brand or model which is known for retaining its value. Honda and Toyota are consistently good brands in this department, for example.

What Warranty Does This Car Come With?
If you want any repairs to be covered by the factory, you should know about the warranty which comes with the car. Factory warranties of some sort are generally standard on new cars, which can save you money as long as you know how to take advantage of it.

What Extended Warranties Are Available?
You might consider getting an extended warranty for your purchase for maximum protection over a long period of time. Ask the seller what kinds of warranties are available, what they cover and how much they cost. You may decide that the price is easily worth the investment.

Asking these questions before buying a car will help make sure you know what you're buying and are paying a fair price for it.

Tips for Avoid Scams When Buying a Car
If you are buying a car, you don't want to fall victim to one of many car buying scams. Checking car dealer ratings can help you make sure a dealership is legitimate, or you can do a number of things to make sure you're getting what you paid for from a private seller. Craigslist scams and eBay scams are things to watch out for if you're buying online. This guide will give you some tips on how to avoid scams so you end up with the car you want for a fair price.

Check Kelley Blue Book
Kelley Blue Book is the industry standard for fair market value of cars both new and used. If you know the year, make and model of the car you want to buy, you should visit KBB to get an idea of a fair price range. This service is instant and free on the Kelley Blue Book website. If you're looking at a used car, keep in mind that KBB assumes "excellent" condition. So, their price on a used car is the absolute maximum you should expect to pay unless the car has extra features that weren't accounted for. For less than excellent used cars, you should be paying significantly less.

Check Dealer Ratings
If you're buying a car from a dealer or used car lot, go online and read some reviews to get an idea of how other customers were treated. Car dealerships which have been in business for awhile should have enough reviews to give you a decent picture of their honesty and customer service. Take everything you read with a grain of salt, though, as it is common practice for competing stores to trash each other from anonymous "customer" accounts online.

Take a Test Drive
No matter the car you're buying, you should always insist on a test drive before purchasing the car. Actually driving the car can alert you to all sorts of potential problems. If anything about the car makes you feel uncomfortable driving it, walk away.

Get a Lemon Report
Even if you're satisfied with your test drive, that doesn't mean your car is necessarily in great condition or even in the condition advertised to you. Get a report from to see if your car has been involved in any accidents or questionable activities which were not disclosed to you by the seller. These lemon reports have saved many people from buying clunkers in disguise.

Pay an Unbiased Mechanic
A lemon report is a great line of defense, but to verify beyond a doubt that your intended purchase is as it should be, it's a good idea to invest in a check by a certified mechanic. Pick a mechanic who has no connection to your seller and no natural bias towards helping them sell the car. You'll probably need to spend about $60, but this is a small investment to ensure that your car is exactly as disclosed, and you're paying a fair price for it.

How to Save Money on Buying a Car for Business Purposes

If you are thinking of buying a car for your small business or for general business use, you should know that there are several parts of the car deal that differ considerably from a personal car purchase. There are things to consider in the type of vehicle you purchase, the way financing is arranged and also car insurance considerations that you will need to take into account.

While purchasing a commercial vehicle or car for your business differs somewhat from the purchase a personal use vehicle, owning a car registered and titled in the name of your business offers many benefits and savings.

Saving Money on the Price of Commercial Vehicles
Searching for a commercial vehicle is much the same as searching for a private vehicle; however, you will find that there are generally fewer dealerships available that cater to small business and commercial vehicle needs. Therefore, you should use the Internet to search for both online car dealerships and local dealerships that specialize in helping small business customers find vehicles for use. If you're searching for a standard car for your business, then obviously you won't have any problem finding a vehicle; however, if you're searching for a special type of vehicle such as a delivery truck or customized panel van, you'll need to search out dealers that offer these types of vehicles.

Finding Financing for Commercial Vehicles
If your business has been in operation for a while and is well established, you will find that there are many business banks that are willing to provide financing for a commercial vehicle purchase. Furthermore, most major car manufacturers have a business finance division that can also help you finance a vehicle. However, you'll need to search for the lowest interest rates and terms just as you would with a private car purchase, but you should know that sometimes searching for and finding these lenders may be a little bit more difficult.

In order to find the best rates on business car loans, you will probably have to contact the lenders directly as there are not many options for comparing business car loans as there are for private car loan lenders. Generally speaking, your local bank or a major car manufacturer may be the best bet for securing the best rate financing on a commercial vehicle.

Other Ways to Save on a Commercial Vehicle
Besides negotiating a lower selling price, finding the best interest rate loan and other common ways of saving money on a vehicle purchase, you will also be able to take advantage of the many business-related tax incentives that your state government and the federal government offer for vehicles that are used in the business. Normally, you should be able to deduct the finance charges on the loan as well as fuel and maintenance costs for the vehicle. In addition, most small businesses save money on their taxes by depreciating the vehicle and claiming credit for the depreciation on income tax returns.

In order to find out how a business vehicle can help you save money on your business taxes, you should ask your business accountant to provide you with more information. Using a vehicle for your business that is titled and registered in the name of your business can help your business save a lot of money; furthermore, titling a vehicle in the name of your business may also help shield you from liability if the vehicle is involved in an accident.

3 Steps to Buying a Car for Commercial Purposes

If you're looking to buy a car for your business, you should be aware that purchasing a car for business use is somewhat different that purchasing one for personal or pleasure use. There are steps in securing financing and registering or titling the vehicle that differ somewhat from private vehicles; therefore, here's a quick step-by-step guide to help you purchase a commercial use vehicle.

  • Choose your car.If you are purchasing a standard car or pickup truck for your business, then choosing your vehicle will be no different than when choosing one for your own personal use. However, if you're choosing a specialty type of commercial vehicle, such as a delivery truck or panel van, you'll need to locate vehicle dealers that offer those types of vehicles. However, find your vehicle at the dealership of your choice
  • Arrange for commercial financing.The financing on a business or commercial vehicle is usually arranged a little differently than with private-use vehicles. For example, you will need to be able to secure financing in the name of your business to enjoy the tax benefits that a commercial vehicle can offer you Therefore, you'll need to submit supporting documents for your business to the lenders so that your business car loan can be approved. If your business is relatively new, you may have to personally guarantee the business car loan and allow the lender to check your personal credit as well as the credit of your business
  • Insure your vehicle. Next, you will also have to secure automobile insurance for your commercial vehicle. You should be aware that coverage policies for commercial vehicles are generally much more expensive than for private use vehicles. This is because of the policy limits on business policies are generally much higher than personal vehicle policies. Also, the liability with an accident involving a business vehicle may put you at substantially more risk for financial loss. Therefore, it is all always important to find good commercial insurance coverage for your business vehicle.

Related Questions and Answers

What is the Cheapest American Made SUV?

If you are planning to buy an American made SUV, here are a few things you should know. There are several good local deals that you can opt for. For example: The Ford Fusion or the Ford Escape are the best, cheapest models in the market at present. They are American-made but the manufacturing company is based in Mexico. The price is also in the $30,000 range, but they are great value for money. The Toyota Highlander and the Toyota RAV4 are both great vehicles that are priced in the $30,000 range. This car model also has a hybrid version that you can choose from. Although both non-American brands, the manufacturing plant is inside the US with 13 divisions inside the US. The Honda Pilot or the Honda CR-V are other great models that work well. They also offer great mileage and the manufacturing plant is based in Marysville, Ohio. GMC-Envoy is the next SUV that really liked, but it can be a little expensive.

    Do I Have to Pay Taxes when I'm Buying a Car in another State?

    Buying a car in another state can be a little confusing. Usually dealers will charge you the sales tax and then forward it to the respective department. But this will work only if you are staying in the same state. If you plan to move, you will have to register your car in the new state and then pay the taxes there too. This does not work if the new state has no sales tax. Since you bought the car from a state that has sales tax, you have to pay the piper in that state and then bring your new car over. But you don't have to pay new sales tax in the non-tax state. This basically means, you are responsible for tax for the state that you are residing in. As a precaution, get in touch with your state DMV for the latest rates and updates.

    Are there any International Fees for Buying a Car in Europe?

    Buying a car in Europe is easy. Germany is the easiest state to buy a car even if you aren't a citizen. The rules will allow you to buy a car and register it for six months with insurance even if you aren't a citizen. But the rules are liable to change. A few localities in Germany will ask you to get a six month special visa before you buy the car, and then export the car to your resident state at the end of your visit along with a flat fee. But the process is simplified with international dealers like Mercedes. You can choose a car in the US and then pay for it with insurance according to the European state you will be traveling to. You can then pick up the car at their European dealership, drive it around and then drop it off at their shipping locations. The company will then ship the car back to you in the US at a set location. It will cost you much more though as you will have to pay the current European fare.

    What are My Rights when Buying a Car?

      While buying cars from dealers, each buyer is protected with certain rights. These rights when buying a car can be listed below into three major laws. The Motor Vehicle Dealers Act of 1975 provides two important rights to consumers. You are entitled to good title of the vehicle you buy from a reputable dealer. All certified dealers will also offer you warranties for new and used vehicles that are sold by them. The Fair Trading Act of 1975 requires all dealers to give accurate information on the car price, the condition of the vehicle, the number of previous owners if any, and the odometer reading. The Consumer Guarantees Act of 1993 ensures that all vehicles that are sold by dealers are of the best quality, and fit for sale to the buyer. They are also supposed to ensure that the cars are free of small faults, of a reasonable price, and are in working order. You can get more information about your rights at this link here.

      Is Buying a Car with a Salvage Title Illegal?

      Buying a car with a salvage title is not illegal. But it is fraudulent to let the buyer purchase the car without letting them know that the car has a salvage title. A salvage title usually indicates that the car has undergone significant damage (more than 75%) and for this reason, it was declared a total loss by the insurance companies. A few states do not use salvage titles on stolen cars and they are Oregon, New York, New Mexico, Minnesota and Georgia, etc. As a buyer, you have to be able to find out exactly how badly the car is damaged. If you have the technical knowledge to repair the car yourself, then buying a salvage car is cheap and affordable. Ensure that you check the VIN number and have the car checked over completely with a garage before you buy it. Especially if it has a Salvage Title.

      What are the Risks of Buying an Out of State Car?

      Generally, the risks of buying an out of state car are much the same as the risks of buying a car in your state of residence. The major risks related to the value of the vehicle are the same. There may be some additional risks related to unanticipated state audit taxes when the buyer moves the vehicle to his or her home state. There may also be some challenges involved in bringing the vehicle up to standards to meet state inspections, if those inspections were not in place in the state where a car was previously registered. Buyers should anticipate paying estate taxes when registering the vehicle in their home state and bringing the vehicle into compliance with any safety or emissions standards for state inspection.

      Is it Illegal to Buy an Out of State Car because of No Sales Tax?

      It is not illegal to buy an out of state car and have tax issues; especially concerning sales tax. What happens is that when the buyer brings the used car into his or her home state, and completes the necessary title transfer and registration, the local Department of Motor Vehicles will assess an appropriate sales tax. Buyers of used cars should know that they will be taxed in their own state according to their state's auto sales tax and/or annual personal property tax.

      Is Registering Your Car Necessary after Buying an Out of State Car?

      Registering your car is always an important part of getting a car purchase legally on the road. Those who purchase a car out of state must register the vehicle in their home state, just as they would if they were purchasing the car from a local dealership or owner. When buying a vehicle out of state, the new owner will have to pursue a title transfer to re-title the vehicle in their home state. They will have to get license plates and register the vehicle in their state. They will also need to bring it up to inspection standards put in place in their home state. All of these issues should be kept in mind when shopping for a car beyond the state of residence.

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