If your old clunker is on its last legs—or rather, wheels—BILLSHARK wants you to know that this is the perfect time to replace it: new or used, electric, hybrid, or gas-powered, online or in person. Doesn’t matter. The cars have been sitting there for months and dealers are desperate, so this is a great time to get a terrific deal.
The deals are out there and with a little research you can find them, so here’s what you need to know.
If you’re looking for a new car, most dealers are offering such purchase incentives as 90- to 120-day deferred payments, zero-percent-interest loans for as long as 84 months (seven years), and even Ford’s “Built to Lend a Hand” program, in which the carmaker will make your payments for three months.
The best deals, of course, are reserved for those with the highest FICO credit scores, and on slower-selling models, such as coupes and sedans. SUVs and full-size pickups are in higher demand, so incentives won’t be as plentiful or generous on these vehicles. More popular colors, body styles, and options will further decrease your bargaining power, but if you’re willing to settle for less than your dream car, you should be able to score some remarkable deals.
If you’re looking for a used car, this is also a great time to buy. Many people resist buying used, with the argument that “you’re just buying someone else’s problems.” On the other hand, there are those who never buy anything but used cars, because they say that a new car loses ten percent of its value the minute you drive it off the lot, so why buy new? And that’s actually true.
In addition, not only will you save thousands on the up-front cost of the car, but you’ll also save on taxes and auto insurance. This can allow you to buy a better car than you might be able to afford to buy new—a Mercedes, say, instead of a Ford, or a Rolls instead of a Toyota.
The key is to find cars that have been well maintained. You’ll want to see maintenance records, if possible, and get a vehicle history report from such companies as Carfax.com or Autocheck.com. And look for cars that have a good reliability record, which you can find from Consumer Reports or J.D. Power, among others.
Regardless of what you find in these reports, however, always take the car to a mechanic you trust to have it inspected.
Used rental cars are another option for good deals on used cars. Every major car rental company offers their used rental cars for sale on their websites, with a flat-rate price and a significant discount over other types of used car dealers. Many of them also offer a longer test drive than do most used car dealers.
Again, if you’re worried about wear-and-tear, be sure to buy from one of the major rental companies and have the car checked out by a mechanic you trust before closing the deal, even if the companies offer a “certified” guarantee.
The coronavirus pandemic has been brutal for almost every commercial enterprise you can think of, and the rental car industry is no exception. Last month Hertz declared bankruptcy and will be selling off its fleet as a result, so be sure to check them out for special offers.
Worried about going into the dealership? No problem. Most dealers are offering hands-free purchasing and “touchless” delivery in one form or another. For example, GM has a “Shop, Click, Drive” program available, and most of the others will bring the car to your home to let you test drive it. This is a service many of the high-end dealers have offered for years, but now they’ve pretty much all adapted to the realities of the pandemic by providing this type of concierge service right to your door.
Do your homework
Whether you’re buying new, or used, spend time comparing prices and deals online. Look for any rebates, discounts, or incentives you may qualify for, and find out what comparable makes and models are selling for in your area because prices on everything from Ford trucks to Teslas vary by state based on local demand.
And most experts advise that you get your financing lined up through your own lender before you ever set foot in a showroom, whether virtually or in person.
Need some extra cash to help out with your downpayment? Let BILLSHARK find it for you by slashing your Internet, wireless, satellite, and TV bills, among others. Our professional negotiators can not only save you hundreds of dollars but also hours of time by finding hidden savings on your bills. And, of course, this is a free service. We charge only if we can save you money.