Robert A. Bonavito, CPA PC

How to Buy a Car Part 2: Research

Part two of a four-part series that I'm going to talk about buying a car. Part one was about the planning. This is part two, which is going to be about the research, researching the car vehicle, that type of stuff. Researching the financing. And the first thing to do is determining what type of vehicle you want. This is a big mistake people make. Okay? You know, if you're in construction, you need something to haul, then maybe you want a pickup truck. But if you're going to be commuting and beating up this car, you want probably something that's economical, that's reliable, and maybe you don't need all the bells and whistles because it's going to're going to run it into the ground.

So, you've got to figure out what type of truck you want, what kind of car you want. Do you want a sedan? Do you want, you know, if you're a young guy and you want to impress, you know, females, what kind of car do you want? Okay? You probably don't want to buy a minivan. So anyway, think about what you're going to use it for, what the plan is. Do you want to keep it for 10 years? Do you want to keep it for five years? Do you want to keep it for one year? All that kind of stuff is important in determining what kind of car you want.

Now, what I like to do is for the research, I always like to start off with Consumer Reports. Okay? Because they give you an unbiased opinion. Now, remember, when you look at these other websites, like, you know, you have, you have, you can ask friends and relatives, car websites, and All these are good, but I always start off with Consumer Reports because, you know, I don't know what it is, you know, $50, $60, but they give you an unbiased opinion. Now, Edmunds is great too. I love Edmunds to look for car information because there's a lot of good stuff there. But remember that's a for pay site, so they're going to probably sway you over to parts of the website that may not be your best choices. And I'm going to show you this. In some websites it's really, you know, crazy. But, it's a great website to use. It helps verify what you saw in Consumer Reports. Autotrader, okay. Here, they give you a lot of different stuff in Autotrader. For example, in Autotrader, you can see what your car is worth. If you're looking at a trade-in. is one of my favorite, because what that does, it actually tells you what people are paying for the car you're looking for or truck in the area. And I always use that one.

Ask friends and relatives. Okay? You know, if you're lucky enough to have, you know, someone who really knows cars in your family, talk to them. What should I get? You know, I want a good car that's going to last 5 years or 10 years. They'll tell you. Okay. And then, of course, you got to back that up because some people will give you bias opinions, you know. And talk about, you know, look at car websites. Car websites give you a ton of detail on that car, all kinds of specs. You can really dig down if you're a car guy and figure out exactly what you want. So, you got to do the research.

So, let's take a look at some stuff I have here. I want to start right here. Okay. So, I am going to just go through, this is Consumer Reports, okay? And I'm looking for a pickup truck, let's say. So this is where I would start, pickup trucks, right? This gives you overview, reliability, recommended buying guide, which is good. You know, it talks about, you know, negotiation and some of the stuff I'm talking here except not, they're not going to be as blunt as I am when I talk to you. So if you look at this, okay, I selected all, I want new, I don't want a used car or truck. Okay? And here we have compact trucks, right? And down here we have, what do we have here? We have full size. So, you could see the ratings here, which, you know, this is rated at 74. And I really like ratings because it helps you quantify and figure things out and you can then, you know, you can rank them. And what they're saying here is the best compact truck is this 2020 Honda Ridgeline, right? And then look at down here. You could come down and you could see like, you know, some of these Toyotas are 47, you know, Chevys, you know, these are really low ratings, 37, so there's probably something...

I would be concerned if I was going to buy one of these trucks. Okay? And a dealer is not going to tell you that. When you walk into a dealer, you walk into, you know, a GMC for this Canyon, he's not going to tell you that, "Well, the overall rating was 37." You got to know this, going in. Now, this may be a great car. And I see, people love this truck, I know that, but Consumer Reports doesn't. And here we have full-size. Okay? Here's the 2019 1500, you know, the Ram, which, you know, probably something I would buy. I mean, I would like something bigger to lug around stuff. So, everybody likes the Ford F-150. Let's see where that is. Okay. That's a 57, you know, so, more than 10 points lower. So, I would probably, based on this, you know, my initial reaction is I would look for this, I would want the Ram 1500.

So I would then go over to Edmunds and see what they have here. Now, here, they're talking some prices, okay? And let's do a little research here and let's see. So we're looking at this car right now, the 2019. Wow, that's a big spread. And this is a decent rating. Three and a half stars, you know, 8.6 out of 10, fully redesigned, which makes me nervous. Let's look at the 2020. Let's see what that is. Oh, they got one guy. One is not a good sampling, so I wouldn't rely on that too much. But let's compare that to the Ford F-150.

Okay. So, remember now, so here's the Ford F-150, which, there's only one. Let's look at the 2019, because there's probably more. This is a decent, it's the same rating pretty much. Okay? And here's the price range, $28,000-$37,000. This is probably just a stripped-down model. And remember when you come on here, remember in the earlier, [inaudible 00:06:50] I said use a dummy email, and if you can get a dummy phone call, a phone number, to use that too. Because as soon as I go on here, I'm being tracked. Okay? And you're going to get all kinds of emails on cars. It's going to be all over the place. Trucks, everything's, if you look at the Ford 150, it's going to be a Ford F-150. If you're looking at the Dodge Ram it's give them the dummy stuff so you can get on these websites, you know, sign in, this way they don't bother you for the next 15 years.

So we kind of have a price range here. So let's just write this down. So, the Ford, they're talking $28,000 to let's say $37,000. And let's see what this is, same one. Here's the Dodge, which is $31,000, more, to $57,000. So you can spend a lot of money on these cars, right? Basic, well-equipped. So anyway, there's a lot of good stuff here. So now let's go over to the next website, which is Autotrader. And the reason I like Autotrader, okay, so we can say search for cars for sale, zip code. They also have "Value My Car," which is good. Okay? You may want to just get an idea what your car is worth, but I usually don't recommend trading your car in. I think you should either sell it or sell it to a family member, if it's a good car, if it's not a good car, trade it in, let the dealership deal with it because they have the resources to fix it. But let's take a look at this here. So, here, I like this one here. Extended cab. That's a Nissan. So you could see that you could start to find dealers here, right? And like I said, it's okay because you're going to put your email in here, a dummy email, and you're going to get hundreds or maybe even thousands of emails. So, be ready. So, this is a great site to get some stuff off.

Now let's go and look at TrueCar, which I really like a lot. TrueCar definitely needs to be part of your research, and TrueCar... Let's see what we want here. Okay. So, let's look. We want the classic. This one looks nice. I want this one. Next. Okay, well we got, what is this here? Because I did some, yeah. Favorite cars. Okay. So, they're starting there. I want this here. Crew cab. Let's go with the V8. Okay. So, here we're looking at somewhere around $44,000, which is a lot of money [inaudible 00:09:55]. Let's say blue. Black, so if I spill coffee. I'm not going to get any of these favorite things. So, okay, so they're at $38,000 right now. Let's see what my price is. Okay, so this is going to actually take me to a car inventory. And here's some dealers, you know? Look at these prices here. These are a little bit crazy. I mean, they'll sell for you for a hundred thousand dollars. Okay? So I have 15 offers. I'm not going to pay that. Your true price... These are all like $45,000. They're nice trucks, right? But no way I'm paying that. This is a, I like this one here. Okay. So, let's see what this is here.

So, here's like a breakdown of this truck I like a lot. They say $45,000. "Others pay," this tells you what other people paid, right? I mean, here's the breakdown. Okay. Here we're getting some discounts, discounts, total incentives, dealer discounts. So, they're saying $45,000. Now this year, again, you got to think about percentages when you're doing anything, because that's really, you know, if someone says, "I give you $500," or, that doesn't mean that... What's the percentage? So, this is saying basically I'm getting it for 13.5% off manufacturer's suggested retail price, which seems okay. Total. So, they're saying total fees, dealer fees, is $46,000. Okay. So, to get this, what I think is a pretty loaded truck, it's a V8, I mean, you know, it's packed, you're talking 40, you know, like $46,000, let's say. Okay. But I'm going to pay less than that. Okay. I want that for $40,000. I want 26% off. So, think of percentages when you're buying a car. Okay?

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