Car Buying Tips for Women

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Published: 13th February 2013
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Car buying is a daunting and arduous process for many. Unfortunately, the process is sometimes more difficult for women, mainly because of the patronizing they receive. Here are five tips to empower yourself as a consumer.

1. Make a list of the vehicle attributes you are after. Here you hone in on the general price bracket, size / cargo carrying capacity, performance, available technology and fuel economy of the competitive set. Are you looking for a compact crossover or a Full size SUV? This allows you narrow down the list of the top contenders you will research more in depth, test drive, and compare.

2. Learn everything you can about the cars you are interested in. Before you go see any car, read
reviews from as many publications / websites as you have time for. It is a good idea to research sources that don’t accept advertising money from manufactures’ and those that do, this will give you a good overall view of what the industry is saying about these particular vehicles. The reason for this is that publications are often influenced by how they generate revenues. For example, Ad revenue driven publications may not write about certain issues such as reliability. Whereas, publications that do not depend on ads often have a different perspective on the cars they review. Consumer Reports is a great source for researching reliability but may not give information about aesthetics, subtle subjective evaluations, or other cool factor related trends in the auto industry. Let’s face it; coolness and fun rank pretty high for a purchase of this magnitude. It is very important that you do not depend on the sales people for information. Many times, the information you receive from them is inaccurate. Do your homework before you walk into a dealership.

3. Make an appointment to test drive the car. Call the dealership ahead of time to make an appointment to Test Drive the model and trim level/levels you are interested in. You want to be sure
they have the vehicle In Stock and it is ready to drive when you arrive. Your time is valuable. The less time you have standing around idle, the less frustration and confusion you will feel when you get there. You can also make it clear over the phone and when you get there that you are there to test drive only and not ready to buy anything from the start. This will alleviate pressure. Remember, you are there to Test Drive only and have appointments at competing brands.

4. Do not let the salesperson rush you. Check entry and exit for all seating positions, if the seats are configurable as in an SUV, see how easy it is to fold them, split them and slide them. Check the ease of opening doors, litigates and trunks. Pretend you have bags in your arms for this test. Take your time sitting in the vehicle as it warms up. Familiarize yourself with the seating, steering, mirror and potentially pedal controls, adjust them and get comfortable. Operate the navigation and infotainment system if so equipped; see if it is relatively simple to figure out its operation. Do things like set a destination on the navigation, pair your phone via the Bluetooth connection, stream a song and play with everything. Establish from the start that you want to take the vehicle on side streets, parking lots and up to Freeway speed. You need to get a sense of the handling, acceleration, braking, maneuverability and even noise characteristics. They will be compelled to take you on a predetermined and generally short test drive loop that does not cover these scenarios. Don’t let them.

5. Bring a friend for support. Even though you have made it clear you are not signing or buying today the sales person will no doubt try to sit you at the desk after the test drive to run the numbers. Your friend will be there to provide the reminder (and emotional support) that you need to resist this. The sales person should have your name and number for the initial setting up of the appointment; this is all they need at this stage. You might feel awkward leaving if they are trying to get you to sit, don’t, say a friendly “we will be in touch” and leave.

Now you are prepared to begin your selection process, narrow down to the top three choices , road test, evaluate and select your favorite. For more tips on car buying, please visit

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