The Real Car-Buying Secret

Car buying can be a stressful test of restraint, financing, and negotiating skills. But it doesn’t have to be. The San Francisco Chronicle has introduced ten steps to car buying without being “taken for a ride.” It only takes one screaming, number-spouting car commercial to realize that purchasing a vehicle can be more than a little tricky, and sometimes nothing less than a big fat headache. But it doesn’t have to be.

The Chronicle’s number one tip is the most important: Know what you want. How do I know this is important? Because I’ve spent the last fifteen weeks on The Ford Project driving and analyzing every possible vehicle Lebanon Ford can offer, and at times I am still overwhelmed by the options. So many factors contribute to your overall happiness with your decision–from color (red, silver, teal?) to style (car or SUV?), to the finer details like sunroofs, tail light style, engine power, and comfort.

The article pushes you to consider your lifestyle—are you a minivan mom (like Jen Freed) or an economical commuter (like Patti Newberry)? But what they don’t tell you is that on the weekends the economical commuter is also an outdoor sports lover. And the minivan mom is taking her girlfriends out on the town. Nobody falls into just one demographic. I, for example, am an end-of-the-road graduate student, family dinners commuter by weekend, occasional camper, hauler of spontaneous furniture purchases from garage sales and vintage stores, looking for a nice ride that isn’t high maintenance. So what demographic am I, oh experts of categorization? News flash–not any single one.

The trick is to know what you want based on the many sides of yourself. Don’t limit your lifestyle to one demographic. Maybe you purchase an economical car but add a bike and kayak rack to the top for a little extra. Maybe you are some vehicle you’ve never thought of, like the quirky but oh so loved Ford Flex. So, tip number one—know all sides of thyself before buying a car, that’s the real car-buying secret.

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