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Buying Advice

Below, you will find priceless tips and tricks

regarding your automobile, or your next one.

SHOULD I LEASE OR SHOULD I BUY?: I am hearing this question more and more, and I can help you through that process when you come to see me about getting a car. But here is a short helpful article from that does a pretty good job of bullet-pointing the pros and cons of leasing and buying. It may give you some food for thought as to what might be right for you. And here is a fairly in-depth article from US News weighing the pluses and minuses of leasing and buying.

ARTICLE EXPLAINING WHY LEASING IS COMPELLING: Here is a great article from MotorTrend explaining why leasing is such a great option. I have been leasing for the last 11 years now and I don't think I'll ever want to go back to owning. This article explains why...and mentions that most people involved in car sales lease their cars. I know most of our showroom leases. Of course leasing isn't for everyone, but it can be for most.

PROS AND CONS OF LEASING: Here is an article from Consumer Reports (a subscription may be required) where they explain in a little more detail the advantages and disadvantages of leasing. There are 2 comments that they made that seem incomplete. 1) They mention that there will be excess wear and use charges at the end of a lease if you have excess wear and use. True. But you can opt for coverage for that on most leases. 2) They mention that if you take a long-term loan to keep the payments down on a purchase, put little money down, and then total the car, you will likely have a good chunk of inequity to come up with. True. But you can opt for GAP protection to cover that cost.

MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR TEST DRIVE: Some great advice here! First, make sure you drive the car! There are a few people I speak to that just take reviews for their word... but just because a professional likes the car doesn't mean you will. Other great tips in this article include making a list of your must-have's and then making sure the car you are getting has them. I recommend you give this a read before your visit for a test drive.

WHY IT TAKES SO LONG TO BUY A CAR / HOW TO SAVE TIME: While this article mainly deals with answering the question about why it takes so long to buy a car, there is one absolutely key piece of advice to save you time: call ahead and set up a time to meet with the salesperson. Often we can have the car you want to drive pulled around for the test drive so it is ready to see when you arrive. Another great tip in the article is what information and documentation to bring with you to the dealership on your visit.

THINGS TO TELL YOUR CAR SALESPERSON: (And hopefully that salesman is me :-) ) This article offers a lot of really good ideas. There are three I really like:

1) If you like or dislike the car, it is okay to tell the salesperson. I want to help you with a car you really like, not one you don't. I want you telling your friends and family how great the car is, how great your dealership is, and how great of a salesperson I am. I want that repeat business from helping you find a car you want, and the referral business that your enthusiasm sends my way.

2) Appraising the trade in up front. I never understood the advice that says to wait to do the trade-in step. It doesn't do anything but make the already-too-long process take even longer. If you are even thinking about trading your car in, let's get it appraised while we are test driving the new car. At Fred Beans Hyundai, we'll break the trade-in value down separately for you, anyway, so you know what you are getting for your trade-in.

3) Tell me up front if you think your credit isn't great. It's okay, at Fred Beans we have an entire department dedicated to helping you. But it does change the process a little, and can make for a quicker and better experience for you if we know up front that we need to handle some aspects a little differently.

Overall this is a really good article that explains steps you can take to make the car buying process faster and smoother. Of course I will work toward that end as well.

SHOULD I GET A NEW CAR, A USED CAR, OR JUST FIX MY CAR: Here is a basic but helpful article from that lists the pluses and minuses for each decision. Personally, I lease new cars, but that is because i place I high priority on knowing my car budget, and leasing keeps me under warranty while allowing me to drive a nicer car than I could otherwise afford. My brother buys a late model used car and keeps it until it is at the end of its life. Basically, there are very few right or wrong answers, as it largely has to do with your preference and what pain you want to avoid.

PICKING THE RIGHT CAR: offers some helpful tips on how to pick the right car for you. I especially like the reminder to assess your needs as the first step, and to consider whether buying or leasing is best for you. So many places kind of short-change the test drive so I like how Edmunds reminds how important this step is.

FAMILY CAR BUYING ADVICE: often offers sound car buying advice. The advice in this article is focused mainly on buying a family car or SUV. Great tips include pre-visit (call ahead to make sure the car is pulled around for when you arrive), at dealership pre-sale (bring the crew and make sure you all ft and that the cargo space is adequate for your needs), to doing your paperwork (consider paint and fabric protection on a family hauler), to getting ready to go home (get your phone paired to the Bluetooth and make sure you understand the active safety features).

NEW CAR BUYING ADVICE: Unfortunately I have seen a lot of really bad "how to buy a car" tips online. But here is an article on that sounds like it is from a seasoned car vet. I'm guessing he hasn't sold for a couple of years as a couple of the tips are slightly outdated, but a vast majority are really good. I'd suggest you give it a read if you plan to get a car soon.

NOTES ABOUT CERTIFIED PRE-OWNED: This is an article from about certified pre-owned programs in general. It contains some good information and I recommend checking it out if you are considering a certified pre-owned car. I especially think the point about only a dealer of the brand can offer a factory-certified car.

EXTENDED WARRANTIES: "Extended warranty" is the term most people use when they are describing what is technically called an "extended service contract". These are additional coverages that you can purchase to cover mechanical failures once the vehicle is out of the manufacturer's warranty period. Consumer Reports has largely recommended against them, and seems as though they still do, but the survey respondents of their own subscribers tell a different story, at least when it comes to used cars (this article did not address new car purchases):

1) Two thirds of used car extended service contract buyers utilized it in years two through five of their used car ownership.

2) And most of those who filed repair claims did so multiple times (multiple repairs were needed over the term of their contract).

3) 84% of those who tried to file a repair claim said that the claim was honored.

4) 82% of used car extended service contract buyers said they would consider getting another one on their next used car purchase.

Those statistics seem to offer a compelling argument for the purchase of extended service contracts when buying a used car. So if you or someone you know tends to dismiss them out of hand, it may be worth looking into in order to make an informed decision about it.

TRADE-IN VALUE: Here is an article that seems to offer a pretty good suggestions about how to get a good and realistic trade-in value. recommends that you take the car to CarMax for a written appraisal value and then to the dealer where you intend to get a car. While it can't hurt to do this (other than lost time), keep in mind that, depending on what state you register the car in, if you trade your car in as opposed to selling it to CarMax, you also get a tax credit.

For example: Let's say you live in Doylestown, Pennsylvania and have a car to trade in that the dealership is valuing at $10,000, but CarMax is valuing at $10500. You have options:

1) Sell it to CarMax and pocket the $10,500. Now you have 10,500.

2) Trade it in to the dealership on the car you are buying. Now that trade in of $10,000 lowered your taxable amount by $10,000 so you now have $10,600 @ 6% sales tax.

The better way to go in that example is to trade the car in at the dealership even though the dealership is technically offering a lower amount.

Another point Edmunds makes, and it is very true, is don't wait and "spring" the trade in at the end of negotiations. Here's why: Many dealers, including Fred Beans Hyundai where I used to work, show you all of your figures anyway. We break down what you are paying for the car you are buying and what you are getting for your trade in. If we know in the beginning that you are trading a car in, we'll start there and have it appraised while we are looking into your new car. This could save us 30-60 minutes later on in the process. No one, us or the customer, wants the car buying process to last longer than it needs to.

SHOULD I SKIP THE FIRST YEAR OF A NEW OR REDESIGNED MODEL?: AutoTrader has done the research and explains that when it comes to reliabilitu concerns, in todays cars there is no more or less reliability in first year models than in subsequent model years.

WHAT SIZE WHEEL/TIRE OPTION SHOULD I GO WITH?: Hyundai, like most manufacturers, make a fe different wheel sizes to choose from that are dependent upon trim level. Sonatas have 16", 17", or 18" wheel sizes to choose from, as does the Santa Fe Sport. If you prioritize comfort, dry road handling, wet road handling, or noise level over other other attributes of the car, then this article and video may help you decide what is right for you. Conversely, if you want other attributes AND any of the aforementioned, you can always change your wheel/tire combo and get the results you prioritize as well. So if this applies to you, give it a view.

HIGH MILES DRIVER? CONSIDER LEASING: You read that right. If you are piling up the miles on a car, you are depreciating the value of your car quickly. And most people don't want to continue making payments on a car with a lot of miles on it if they rack up a ton of miles since they need a reliable car due to how much they drive. Put the miles on "someone else's" car by leasing. If you are responsible for your own transportation and you drive a lot of miles, there are additional costs no matter what you do. I personally started leasing when I was doing 20,000 miles per year and leasing worked out MUCH better for me than buying did, especially since I leased for 3 years and Hyundai has a 60,000 miles New Car Limited (what most people call "bumper-to-bumper") warranty. Read the article for further explanation.

NEED TO GET OUT OF YOUR LEASE?: Unfortunately things happen and there may come a time where you may need to get out of your lease. That can be a hard thing to do. But there are some things you can do to lessen the pain.

Important note: As I write this on 6-23-22, the car market is very high. Be sure to have your lease car appraised for trade-in or straight sale to a dealer/wholesaler/individual. First, check with the bank you are leasing with (for example I lease my 2020 Sonata with Hyundai Motor Finance) to see if they allow third party purchase. Many banks require that you return to their brand's dealership or charge much higher payoffs for others.

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