How to Avoid a Marathon Car Deal

Purchasing a new vehicle can be exciting but it can also be a slow process. Here's how to streamline your car buying experience in the dealership.
 
You've done your homework, found the make and model car you want, even know which trim level is right for you. The time has come to go down to the dealership, bring all your paperwork, sign the contract papers, and drive off with your exciting new ride. But many times, buying a car can be a slow process. JD Power tells us that the average consumer spends 3.6 hours to complete their purchase.
 
One of the things that can slow the whole process down is when you don't have all your paperwork in order. Here's what you'll need to bring to the dealership.
 
Paperwork Checklist
The dealer needs proof that you are a legally registered driver. Your driver's license offers identification from the State, plus your need your license to drive your new car off the lot.
 
You'll need the payment for your vehicle. Your down payment can be a cashier's check from your bank or a personal check. Get pre-approved financing for your car so the payment details won't slow you down.
 
If you are trading in a vehicle, you'll need the clear title to prove that you own the car. If there is a co-signer or a lien against the title, get the required signatures before you head out to the dealership. When you sign over your vehicle to the dealership, be sure to sign the document while in the presence of the finance manager.
 
You'll also need the state registration card for your trade-in vehicle. Make sure the registration is current and check the month and year stickers on your trade-in's license plate.

Bring proof of car insurance coverage so you can legally drive your new car off the lot. If you call your insurance agent and give him or her the VIN number of your new car, your new car insurance policy will be in place before you pick up the vehicle. You can also call your agent from the dealership and handle it over the phone but it is better to have your new insurance card when you sit down with the finance manager.
 
If you still have an unpaid loan on your old car that you are trading in, bring the account number of your trade-in's loan. It is best to call the lender ahead of time to facilitate the transaction.
 
If you are getting a military or college graduate rebate on your new car from the automaker, be sure to bring in your rebate eligibility documents. Remember to make sure that all your documents are current.
 
Pick up your New Car!
Once you have all your paperwork together, call the dealership and make an appointment to come down and handle your car deal. Remember, you can save up to two hours at the dealership by following these steps.
 
Save time by picking out your new car from the dealership's online inventory. You can even work out the price of the vehicle with a salesperson over the phone. When you get to the dealership all you'll have to do is deal with your trade-in, test drive your new car, and sign all the purchase contracts.
 
Test Drive Time
A great way to save time is to have the dealership handle the trade-in appraisal while you are giving your new car a test drive. Let your salesperson know that you want to be done with the entire deal in two hours. That will get the whole process going on a fast track.
 
During the appraisal process the dealership's used car manager or sales manager checks out your trade-in to determine its value. While this is happening, spend some time in your new car. The management team will have a trade-in offer ready for you by the time you get back from your test drive.
 
The Finance Office
You'll save more time by being prepared for everything that will happen in the Finance and Insurance (F&I) office. By this point you will have picked out your new car, agreed on the price and terms of the deal, and filled out all the initial paperwork. Signing the final purchase documents is usually the longest amount of time you'll spend in the dealership. While waiting for your turn with the finance manager, ask your salesperson or sales manager to go over all the after-sale items with you. This includes everything from gap insurance and extended warranties to products and services for your new car. This will give you a good idea of what you can say yes or no to, quickly. Be aware that these products will add to your monthly payment if you roll them into your car loan. Some of these products have prices that are negotiable.
 
While you are waiting to go into the F&I office, you can also have your salesperson go over all the features of the car including infotainment and driver assist technology. If it is a particularly busy day at the dealership, you can request to have the paperwork and car delivered to you. Naturally, the dealership wants you to buy all the extra goodies while you are there in the flesh. Telling them that the deal is taking too long is a great motivator to get the deal done and get you on the road.
 
Let Lithia Help!
With over 270 auto dealerships and over 75 years in the personal transportation business, Lithia Motors will get you into your new car quick and easy. Find the dealership near you.