My first experience with buying a car on a dealer’s lot came a couple of weeks ago. My 1995 Nissan Altima had come to its end. A big, huge, hairy truck plowed into the Altima in a parking lot and pretty much totaled the car. It was actually a blessing, because then I didn’t have to spend the money fixing it up to make it pretty enouh to sell. I’ve always had clunker cars up until now, so buying a car at a dealership was a very new experience. I don’t like buying new cars, so I went to an “up-scale” used car lot, if there is such a thing. My wife and I went back and forth to different dealerships looking at full-size sedans and a couple of small SUVs. We started looking at 2006 Hyundai Sonatas because they were in our price range, they looked nice, and they are a very smooth drive. Plus, we could get a Sonata with a V6 engine that was in our price range. I was ang. little skeptical about buying a Korean car with the track record it has had in the past, but Hyundai has definitely separated itself from Kia by a mile. Many reviews by magazines like Motor Trend and Car Buying Guide say that Hyundai is getting closer and closer to Toyota and Honda type quality. I know, it’s hard to believe, but all you really need to do is drive a newer Hyundai, and you’ll see what they are saying. So, we found the Sonata that we really liked. It was a nice, midnight blue color, had about 30k miles, and the interior was very clean. And so begins the adventure. Here are a few things that I did to help prepare myself for negotiating and buying my “new” used car.
I ended up buying the Sonata for a price that was in our price range, and I got them to throw in re-painting the back bumper and touching up a scratch on the front bumper and driver side fender. We got a decent deal, but I’m sure the dealer made good money on the sale. It was definitely a learning experience, but I think we were satisfied when we drove away from the lot. I couldn’t really complain with the car, because the windows roll up and it doesn’t rattle my teeth out when I sit at a light. If you’re in the hunt for a car, my suggestion is to buy used and stay strong in the negotiation process. The ball is ALWAYS in your court when it comes to car buying!