Let me preface this by saying I’m no expert. I mean seriously, I’m no expert by a huge landslide. With that said, I recently had the need to purchase a new car – and thought I’d share my experience and findings with all of you.
I have to give credit to my boss for my prize of getting the most car for my money. I’d considered myself fairly savvy before when it came to big purchases, but apparently I wasn’t. Without his valuable advice, I’d have likely been taken advantage of.
So… here we go.
First, know the vehicle you’re looking for, as well as the highest-end budget you are willing to go. These are two very important steps you need to have already decided. Once you know these two things, schedule a test drive at a dealership. Let them know up front you’re not talking numbers on the day of your test drive, and hold fast to this. They’ll try to make a deal with you that day anyway, but hold your ground and repeat this out loud to them as many times as needed. It’s just a test-drive, after all.
When it comes to a car purchase, the less personal info you divulge to the salesman prior to getting your best price – the better for you. You ‘don’t know’ if you’re trading in when asked. You’re ‘not sure’ about the money you’ll put down. Do make sure they’re aware you’re in absolutely no hurry to make a purchase (even if you are). Never tell them the highest you’re willing to go in price – they’ll run with this number until the end if you do. Constantly put it out there that the best bottom line price is the winner, regardless of which dealership. Make all these things part of your religion and stick with it.
Okay, so you’ve test driven the car you want, and hopefully love it. If not – keep doing your research until you find ‘the one’. Next, go to www.cars.com – a simple, user-friendly site that lets you key in the make, model and year vehicle you’re looking for. It even allows you to do an advanced search to include options on the car that are important to you.
This website really is a handy little tool. Expand your radius as large as you’re comfortable with, I chose 100 miles. As you begin your search, it will bring up all the available vehicles at the dealerships within that radius, also listing their price. This is where it can get a little tricky. Once you nail down a group of a couple to several cars, make note of the dealership the vehicle is listed at. You can use a new tab to go to that dealership, leaving the previous cars.com one up for reference.
I personally made the decision to handle everything online, and only visit the dealership twice. My first visit was for the initial test-drive… the last visit happened when I sealed the deal. That second and final visit would only happen once I had my bottom-line and OTD (out the door) price. You should request two prices… the lowest bottom line without taxes, etc., and the total with taxes etc. (OTD) price. Again, explore all your options – do not commit or ‘side’ with one single dealership. Remember it’s the lowest price that wins your business.
Know your rebate options. You don’t have to discuss them immediately, but it’s a good idea to research them and have the info in your back pocket to pull out once you start getting bottom-line pricing. Oftentimes the dealership will apply these rebates to get your bottom line price, so it’s good to know them beforehand as well as the price you’re expecting.
Just like dating, when it comes to dealerships you’re probably gonna kiss a lot of frogs. I did give most of them my cell number, but remained adamant about the majority of communication being done via email. Know in advance there will be some dealerships who simply refuse to do this. These dealerships don’t want you to have anything in writing for reference later. Can’t say it loud enough – DUMP THESE DEALERSHIPS. And if you don’t like the feeling you’re getting from a salesman, or feel they’re being rude or condescending, DUMP THEM. It’s totally your right.
Wait it out. Seriously. The more time you have, the better. After a month of working on it (a little under a week with this particular dealership), one Saturday evening my deal finally came. If you’ve done your homework and put the time in on your purchase, all I can say is you’ll know your deal when you see it. My stomach started doing little flips inside because I knew I couldn’t leave this one sitting. And, I had it all in writing.
I got a Ford Escape Titanium. It’s way more car than I ever expected, at far below the cost of others out there like it. A salesman at another dealership kept telling me I had to give up options to get a lower price. By then I knew what I wanted, and this left me feeling cheated. He would never give me a bottom-line price, either – just danced around it. So guess what? I dumped him. This baby is L-O-A-D-E-D. Leather, heated seats, auto-start, double moonroof, rearview camera, larger wheels, dual exhaust turbo-boosted, intelligent access display, premium Sony sound system – heck y’all, tons more I won’t bore you with. It’s more than I need for sure, but for the price… what would you do?
I’ve gotta give props to Keith Hawthorne Ford of Belmont, who went above and beyond to do what a lot of other dealerships loudly proclaim they wish to do – which is earn my business. Just like anything else in life though, words mean very little to me. Actions, however, mean everything.
And, there’s an unmatched satisfaction that comes from having to work for those extras. ☺️
As I came to the first red light on the way to work this morning, I was stunned to see a car stalled between it and the busy highway which I was waiting to turn on. An elderly lady with a desperate look on her face sat in the drivers seat on the phone, and her husband sat slumped in the passenger seat with a blank look on his face. The ass-end of their car sat poised in the busy intersection of the highway, just waiting to be t-boned. She’d even called the cops, who still hadn’t showed by the time I left a half-hour later.
When I finally got her attention I asked if her car was stalled, she replied yes. I asked her to hang on since I was forced to make the green light turn. Maneuvering a quick U, I pulled in front of her, ran back to their car and asked her to put it in neutral. I immediately took note of the incline it would have to be pushed up – even though I had doubts about handling it alone, knew I had to try anyway. They always say adrenaline kicks in the moment you need it, and these people desperately needed to be moved out of a very busy intersection of a highway. The cars came and went, some honking and rapidly switching lanes to avoid hitting us at the last minute. I finally had to face the brutal stomach-sinking reality that I couldn’t move the car by myself. I started locking eyes with passerby cars who came to rest at that red light, spotted what I thought was a guy, and waved them down. Lo and behold, the door opened and out popped a female. I yelled over to her that we needed to find a man, but she ran over anyway and became my teammate.
Inch by slow inch, we made tiny progress. We both put our entire body weights into it, which even combined didn’t seem enough to get the job done. The elderly disabled husband began exiting the car very slowly (as we were moving it). I noticed his arms didn’t work – they just hung to his sides. I tried to get him to step to the side but he wouldn’t. He leaned his back end into it and did what he could, bless his heart.
My cohort and I proceeded to inch the car along, with it coming to rest every few seconds. Her and I didn’t speak, but every time the car stopped I knew we were thinking the same thing – we both had to fight to keep it from reversing backwards on us. I truly believe it was God’s hand that helped us push that car upward…
For the next 20 minutes, car after car whizzed past us while we expended every bit of energy we had to get the car up the hill. Once we got her pulling into the grass, a van stopped and a man got out. With three bodies pushing, the car finally came to rest safely in the grass.
When it was all over and I was back in my car, I found myself beyond infuriated. Why, you may ask? It’s simple, really. WHERE THE HELL WERE ALL THE MEN?? I mean, are you serious? Out of the scores of cars that passed us in that 20 minutes, my money’s certainly not riding on the fact that they were all female. This includes all the ones at the red light who were already safely stopped, who came and went.
I know of a good many men that I feel sure would have stopped and leant their strongarms. I’m hoping that chivalry is indeed not dead and the people I encountered this morning who ‘opted out’ were not in the majority of the population. This chance encounter only dimmed that hope, unfortunately.
How hot was it this weekend? It was so hot that the Jehovah’s Witnesses decided to make phone calls in lieu of visits. (Hey, it’s a joke. Be easy on me, I’ve got at least two for every religion.) In all seriousness, this heat has been one for the records. Unless I’m near a large body of water you won’t find me outside in it.
I received a super-sweet nomination for a ‘Very Inspiring Blogger Award’ from sued51too. Although I don’t really ‘do’ the awards, I’d definitely like to express my humble appreciation for this and urge you to visit her blog http://sued51too.wordpress.com. She writes very inspiring and meaningful posts which I enjoy immensely and I think you will too.
Today is a monumental day for my
sweet girl sidekick automobile. My little baby car will turn over to 100,000 miles today on the ride home from work. Know that I WILL be pulling over at 99,999. It’s just something I’ve gotta do.
No, it doesn’t take much to entertain the old Bon… not much at all. I think I’ve mentioned before that I have a personal ummm, bond with my car. Those who know me understand, and I’ll leave it at that.
You know that 2-tire blowout Keith had last week? While en route to get fireworks last night, it was crudely brought to our attention that little incident did more damage than we originally thought.
Cruising down Highway 321 in Clover, SC – a large kathump happened on the passenger (my) side of the car and the brakes completely locked up. We went SCRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR for 200 feet or so while Keith struggled to maintain the wheel, making a split-second decision to take an opportunistic pull-off into a closed service station. He narrowly missed smashing into a big green dumpster before coming to a stop with the ass-end of the car still hanging out in the street. Neither of us said a word while it was happening, but once stopped we both cried out “what the f*ck!?!” in unison. What is it they say again about finishing each other’s sentences?
If you’ve ever wondered (raising my hand) what happens when you pop a ball joint from an axle… well, it looks something like this.
So much for that brand new
set of four three tires and rims.
Reckon’ we gotta scratch that last-minute fireworks run, honey. Looks like them there wheels don’t roll end over end after awl!! Hell, maybe if we climb up on the roof o’ the house later we can enjoy some of those mortars our neighbors bawt…
Silver linings are everywhere to be found. There was no 105 degree weather, the rain had stopped an hour prior, and Keith wasn’t going the usual 65-70 mph down the interstate on his way home from work. We are safe, we are blessed – and God is good.
Any weekend with an extra day thrown in there for good measure is an awesomely happy one for me, holiday or no holiday. Originally planned was a mountain trip, but we opted to stay off the roads this labor day a) because of the traffic and huge crowds labor day always brings, be it mountains or beaches, and b) the pickings were really slim seeing how we’d waited-last minute to look for a place. We were gonna have to settle, and neither of us liked the thought of that. Instead, I packed up myself and kittycat Camille and headed over to K’s for the long weekend.
The top thing on my to-do list was wash my car, she’d not been washed since Spring. I know I know, that’s awful. She literally was the worst I’ve ever let her get. We started on her about 10:30 this morning, and just finished up about one this afternoon. Gave her the super-special lowdown… inside and out, buffed headlights, vacuumed, cleaned out glovebox, cleaned out trunk, detail detail detail… you get the idea.
Towards the end of what we lovingly call ‘the fruits of our loins’… I’m thinking this baby now looks good enough to take for a trade-in. Nah, I’ll keep my sweet little paid-off ’04 a while longer. She’s been extremely good to me, and I recognize that for what it is. Why, just the other day she told me she’s in it for the long haul – and Good Lord willing, I’ll be right there with her. Now, that’s what I call ‘owner loyalty’. 😉
Ever hear someone talk about how their car even runs better when it’s clean? Well, it’s true… try it and see!