Yes, you read that headline correctly. If you are thinking of buying a new or used vehicle and you want to save money, I recommend first taking five steps before you even think of heading to a dealership showroom or website to shop. When many of us feel that first itch for a new vehicle, we think first about dropping by a dealership to browse—look at a few models, lift a few hoods, check out a few prices. Not a great idea—dealerships love to see innocent browsers pull on to the lot. Or maybe, you just like to cruise the local dealership websites. That's a better idea, but still not one designed to save you money or to really help you find the right car for you and your family. Instead, when that itch strikes, stop and take these five steps. Your wallet will thank you.
How hard do you work to take home $2000? Does it really matter if you put air in your tires? Do oil changes really matter, or is that a myth? Do you know why smart people buy used vehicles rather than new? Would you like to cut your gas bill? "Auto Issues" will surprise you and, oh yes, it will save you money.
Dealerships just love it when you trade in your old vehicle. Why? They give you "wholesale" for it or less. Then, they sell it "retail" to another customer. Even if they sell it to an auction or wholesale broker, they still make money on it. Selling trade-in vehicles is an important profit center for most dealerships.
Why should the dealership make that extra money? Why not pocket that money yourself by "retailing" your car to an individual rather than trading it? You may particularly wish to consider selling your vehicle if it's older but nice and reliable. Many people are looking for very affordable, but reliable transportation. So you can take a vehicle that a dealer might give you just a few hundred or thousand for and make more money. Both you and your buyer can come out ahead. Of course, you can also do well selling a newer vehicle.
More and more automobile dealerships across the country have added mandatory binding arbitration clauses to contracts for new and used vehicles as well as to financing contracts. By signing the contract, the consumer is agreeing to binding arbitration to settle any future dispute and also waiving the right to sue or appeal—even if the dealership committed fraud.
Although voluntary arbitration can be a good tool for some disputes, mandatory, pre-dispute arbitration poses several real dangers to consumers. In fact, the dealers must agree it poses dangers—after all, they fought hard for a federal law that prohibits automotive manufacturers from requiring dealers to accept mandatory binding arbitration in contracts between the manufacturers and dealers!
Gasoline prices typically fluctuate depending on the season, for example, going up when more people are traveling in the summer. Even a few extra cents a gallon can quickly add up to lots of dollars. But, with some attention to the following tips, you can keep costs to operating your vehicle as low as possible.
Saving on gasoline
No matter whether you drive a compact that averages 30 mpg or a SUV that averages 13 mpg, you can cut gasoline costs by paying attention to where you buy gas, how you maintain your vehicle, and how you drive it.