Are you in the market for a new car? As mature women, we often find ourselves having to do things that we might not have done on our own before, whether it’s caulking a tub or buying a car.
Some friends are either buying or have recently bought vehicles so we gathered some tips and information to make it easier to slide into the ride of your dreams.
Establish A Budget & Find Your Financing
If you have a Volkswagen budget, it’s better that you are realistic and don’t get sidetracked looking at the Ferrari or options you can’t afford. Are you thinking of financing? There are a number of options such as:
- Special interest rates from the dealer
- A bank loan
- Your personal credit such as a credit line
Perhaps you are using your savings or investments, then you need to know how to access the funds and the time required to get the money released. You may want to discuss the best approach with your financial advisor.
Review What You Need & Make A Checklist
- Where Are You Driving? – Are you mostly driving in the city or long distance? A standard can be a hassle if you are in stop and start city traffic whereas a four-wheel drive is optimum dealing with icy highways.
- Do You Have A Preference On The Type of Fuel & Fuel Efficiency? – If you plan on this being your car for over five years, consider the electrical car/hybrid trend.
- How Do You Use Your Car? – If you drive two friends to bridge each week, then a SMART car will not work. How about room for groceries, laundry, your business product boxes, luggage or pets?
- Is Ease of Access Or Trunk Space Needed? – Mobility considerations are key. If you are challenged with knee issues, a low riding car will not work well. When you have a walker or a bike then you need to be able to get in and out of the trunk easily. A good supportive seat is more comfortable for a large woman. A lower slung dashboard will benefit someone petite.
- Are You Set On Certain Finishes And Accessories? – Leather is an awesome finish, great for pets. Maybe you love music and value a high-end stereo. Don’t forget at this time of life, you might splurge for a dream car, like a convertible or something that you always wanted. If you go skiing or camping it is important to have a rack. Try not to make this about color as it can severely restrict your purchasing options.
- When Do You Want Delivery? – A car with certain accessories might be a factory order. If you need something sooner that will not work so you need something on a lot somewhere.
- How Is The Depreciation? –Depreciation is a money burner. Just driving your new car off the lot drops thousands of dollars. You may want to look at a car one or two years old. All the warranties will still be in place. Also, some brands depreciate faster than others.
Now you have a clear idea of the considerations for this purchase and this list will help keep you focused on success as you work through the next steps.
Do Your Research
- Spend some time online, browsing car brands and pick out all the models that you like and are roughly in your budget.
- Read the consumer reports. You can access them either online or at your library.
- Establish Your Position of Power – What type of salesperson do you feel most powerful with? This will affect your confidence and approach. It could be young like your grandson, older like your brother-in-law, or you might feel most comfortable with a female salesperson. There is a distinct lack of women in this field but we have gathered some great women from the industry who will be sharing information in the second part of this series. Make sure and subscribe to get it delivered to your inbox.
Test Drive Everything
- Pick times when you are at your optimum energy level. Test driving is work. Do one or two a day. Pace yourself.
- When you get to the lot take that Powerful Persona with you. Don’t be shy to take a moment to review the salespeople and approach the one you like. Approach it like you are interviewing them for a job. You are looking for the salesperson that will allow you to get what you want. If first impressions don’t jive, then excuse yourself and move on. “Thanks for your offer but I am looking for a different salesperson.” is an easy script. Practice saying “No”.
- Don’t get sidetracked into purchasing discussions at this point. Drive the vehicles and take pictures and notes for each one. “I am here to test drive A, B, C.” Just the sticker price is good to start with, an idea of the options in the car you drove and the salesperson contact information. You are not required to give your name and number, so your script could be “I am not available by phone. I will get in touch with you.”
- Explore the tech options. Automatic car starters are great in winter. Backup cameras are so helpful, especially if your neck mobility is an issue. You might consider the new self-parking options. You can easily be wired for sound including computers, satellite radio, and Bluetooth enabled so phone calls can be handsfree. They all make driving so much more pleasant. Keyless or keyless entry can make access much easier.
- Check out the Maintenance packages. Most brands offer maintenance packages that alleviate worry and the need to budget regular maintenance at least for five years. This can be helpful if you are on a budget. Some brands offer extended warranties.
Shortlist Two Or Three Vehicles
Now that you have your choices nailed down you can dive into pricing. Spend some time reviewing online pricing and explore rebate offers (government and dealers).
Knowledge is key for the next phase. Having a little book to document what you know will help when you get into the next round.
Coming Next: Dealership Tips – Subscribe to make sure you don’t miss it.
If you are looking for an ethical product advisor, reach out to Shira Hick, a contributor to this article.
Have you a funny story about buying your car or some great tips to share? Scroll down and share your comments.