Few things are as exciting as buying a new car or truck. The look, the smell, the FEEL of the right vehicle goes far beyond meeting a practical need. There’s something deep in the American psyche that simply loves getting behind the wheel of certain machines. Starting them up. Driving them away.
Dealers know this, of course, and they’re quite good at keeping those positive feelings going. They ask all the right questions and lead the conversation in the most “yes” direction possible before moving in to close the deal. Salespeople aren’t necessarily doing anything wrong when they push you to buy; it’s their job and they have to pay the bills same as the rest of us. But they do this all day, every day, while most of us only buy a new automobile once or twice a decade. We’re at a disadvantage from the very start.
Over the past decade, however, it’s become increasingly easy to arm yourself with information before setting foot on that lot. The information explosion made possible by the internet means that with minimal effort you can compare vehicles, look at previous customers’ reviews of various dealers, get a pretty good idea of what the dealer pays for a specific car or truck, along with the average sale price of that same car or truck in your area over the past year. All without leaving the house.
New vehicle financing is similar in many respects. Although it’s less exciting than test-driving or comparing features and colors, it’s no longer shrouded in mystery to all but a chosen few. You don’t have to have an accounting degree to compare lenders or educate yourself about common terminology used when discussing new vehicle loans. You don’t even have to be good at math to use an online auto loan calculator to explore how different interest rates, down payments, or payoff periods change your monthly payment and total cost.
It’s all there. We’d be foolish not to take full advantage of it.