John North, Dayton Better Business Bureau president. CONTRIBUTED

Choices, choices, choices … : Prepare before going to car dealership

Buying a car can be a daunting task, whether it’s new or used, cheap or expensive, foreign or domestic. There are a lot of things to keep in mind when you head out to your local dealership.

Part of what makes the task of buying a car a hassle is the amount of choices and decisions you have to make.

It’s important to know ahead of time what you’re looking for in a car. New car dealers were among the top 10 complained about industries in the Miami Valley in 2016. So, it’s imperative that you’re thorough in your preparation. Better Business Bureau suggests keeping these things in mind to help you have a successful trip to the dealership.

• Have a general idea of the type of car you want, as well as features you’re interested in.

• Make sure you have a budget beforehand and factor in the cost of the car, down payment, taxes and fees.

• Use your BBB to get a list of BBB Accredited dealerships. BBB can also provide Business Profiles on dealerships you’re considering. Visit www.bbb.org or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.

• Consider going to the dealerships with the best reviews and recommendations.

• Negotiate with the salesman and don’t be afraid to walk away from a dealership if the salesman is pushy or unfair. Keep all negotiations separate. Consider questions about financing, service contacts or trade-ins after you have settled on a price.

• Get pricing from multiple dealerships to ensure you’re getting the very best deal.

• Make sure to test drive the car and test things like brake resistance, steering and visibility.

• Get everything in writing, including warranty information. Look over the contract before signing. Don’t be pressured into signing if you don’t understand something.

Once you’ve settled on a car, focus on how you’ll pay for it (pre-approved loan, out-of-pocket cash, etc.) and the paperwork involved. Some of the paperwork involved includes the title, insurance forms, registration, license plate and taxes. Shop around for financing and service contracts and compare terms carefully. Lastly, inspect your new car carefully before driving it off the lot.

Since buying a car can be an expensive and key moment in one’s life, a little preparation and research beforehand can ease the purchasing process.

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John North is president of the Dayton Better Business Bureau.

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