Question of the Day: What’s Your Best Car-Buying Advice?

What would you tell a friend shopping for a new car? Give us your best tips.

byAaron Cole|
Question of the Day: What’s Your Best Car-Buying Advice?
New car with red ribbon and red bow.

Hi there, we haven’t been formally introduced yet, but I’m the guy who would study your car-shopping habits and weaponize those against you. Correction: I used to be the guy. 

I’ll spare you the details, but those days are over. I’m here now to be your ally during these unprecedented car-buying days. Sure, I have some tips and inside info, but I want to hear yours first. 

Namely, what advice do you give new-car buyers when they’re shopping? Picture this: A cloudless, blue summer day, an afternoon spent out in the sun, soaking up some vitamin D with friends. Inevitably the conversation turns to cars—like it always does when you're around—and a friend chimes in: “You know a lot about cars. What do you know about the new Puntiac Remorsa? I want to buy one.”

You, always the expert, chime in with your best tip: “Actually, I know a lot. If you’re shopping for a Puntiac, keep in mind that the Remorsa BFE is the volume trim and the best bang for your buck. Start there.” 

Clever—and correct. But also made up. (Although Remorsa would be a wonderful car name.) 

What I mean is: You have your own advice. And I want to hear it. 

Me? I’ll start. Coming from the inside, I can say that most shoppers don’t shop for types of cars; most shoppers start with a brand in mind first. That’s probably not the best idea, and here’s why: Your friendly neighborhood Isuzu/Eagle dealer is expertly trained in starting you with Eagle Summit money but selling you a Talon instead. What does that mean? They know you’ll walk on the lot with the idea that you want “a Toyota,” or “a BMW,” instead of a specific model. They’ll find the model that stretches your budget to the breaking point, with the longest loan they can pull up. It works.

It pays dividends to know what you need (versus what you want) and shop competitors from other brands. Don’t shop only Toyota; shop a small utility vehicle from multiple automakers. You’re less likely to get rolled up into a loan that you don’t want, for a car you don’t need, by a salesperson you shouldn’t trust. 

But enough about the underbelly of the biz. Let’s hear from you. Drop a comment below and help a fellow shopper who needs some sunny advice from a friend.