Tax season is upon us. How do I know? Turn on the TV and tell me if the first thing you see isn’t the bow tie-wearing- old-man from H&R Block.
Statistics show that 42% of people use their income to pay down debt, and 26% say they will splurge on something nice. But 11% claim they’ll use it to acquire a car. If that’s you, then great! We love cars, but we also love paying our mortgage and eating dinner, so when looking to upgrade your ride—stay within your means. Spend your tax money on a good car, and not on a loan you can’t afford.
This why our friend, sales expert, and avid off-roader Raul Villegas, has been kind enough to share valuable tips to get you the best car your tax refund can buy!
A private seller can save you a lot of money, up to thousands of dollars due to little or no operating costs. But the downsides could be plenty, such as no buyers protection, no warranty, and failure to disclose any accidents, mechanical problems, etc. While general car knowledge can help you make an educated choice, not having a clue can hurt you even more. Obviously not all private deals turn sour, but it all comes down to how much you know.
Buying from a dealer
It’s impossible to generalize, but most cars sold at dealers go through mechanical inspections to prove they’re worthy of purchase. This is mainly to put prospective buyers at ease, but also to make sure the dealer will turn a profit at the point of sale.
Although if you want to find a gem, then look for a dealer with a loyal following, as this will yield many high quality trade-ins from repeat customers. This is what I call “Organic Stuff”. Another way to find a hidden treasure, is a dealer with high volume lease returns. Keep in mind that lease drivers log less miles and take better overall care of their cars, otherwise they could be charged penalties at the end of their lease.
The term “Certified” is used by new car dealerships when retailing pre-owned vehicles. While certification adds a premium to the price, this is quickly offset by the piece of mind it offers. Most dealers require a clean Carfax report to be certifiable, and offer a 6 year or 100,000 mile powertrain warranty!
Whether you buy Private, Dealer, or Certified, be a smart buyer and follow my suggestions:
- Always ask for a Carfax report.
- Invest on a third party mechanical inspection before committing to purchase.
- Read up on how to spot misaligned body panels and signs of repainting.
- Never car shop at night, or next morning you’ll run the risk of owning a literal translation of “Fifty Shades of Grey”
- Take a deep breath inside the car. The slightest hint of cigarette smell can knock off big money off the price tag! (And that smell is never going away)
- Look for four matching brand name tires, this will tell you a lot about the previous owners level of attention.
Raul is one of the top producing consultants at a high volume dealer in San Antonio, Texas. When he isn’t enjoying his beautiful family, he is hard at work making his customers happy.