Buying a car can be a scary experience, especially for someone who has never been through the process before. You always hear the “let me go talk to my manager” quote thrown around when people talk about the car buying experience, and it’s true. As someone who had a brief run as a car salesman, I can tell you from experience, that the salesman is not always going back there to get you the better deal. Rather, he is probably conferring with his manager to figure out how to convince you to buy the car at the highest price possible.
So what can you, as the potential buyer, do to combat this? Quite simply, you can be prepared. Arm yourself with as much knowledge about the car you are looking for as possible. How can you do this? Well, “there’s an app for that.” Actually, there are quite a few apps for that, and I am going to show you some of the best to have installed before you venture out to the car dealership.
Edmunds Car Reviews & Prices (Free)
This app is built with the sole purpose of researching cars. Before you even get to the negotiation process, you can use this app to get reviews and gain a deeper understanding of the different models of cars. This way you can show up to the dealership with the knowledge of which vehicle is perfect for your needs.
The app has access to thousands upon thousands of cars, so whether you are looking to snag a brand new model or something preowned, you will be able to find out all the important details about the vehicle right from this app. You can also use it to find out pricing information about the cars in your quest to make sure you don’t pay more than you need to.
AAA Auto Buying Tools (Free)
This is another great app for researching the prices of your car. Even if you are not a member of the AAA, you can still use this app to get the information you need before walking into the dealership. It also comes with TrueCar pricing, which provides the average sale price, not just the MSRP.
AAA’s app also features all kinds of safety information about a car, which is a key thing many people overlook. Buyers often get distracted by features like navigation, engine performance and the like, but making sure a car is safe is probably most important. It even comes with a loan calculator, so you can make sure you are taking on the right monthly payment.
The absolute best way to buy a used car is to bring a qualified mechanic with you, but for some people, that just isn’t practical. This app is the next best thing, providing you with a detailed checklist of things to look for when you are checking out the vehicle. You’ll be amazed at the small things that can be wrong with a car that you just don’t happen to catch on your own.
Once you have marked off items on the list, the app will provide a rating for the car in question. This information will help you decide if the car is worth the price. Sure, KBB (below) might say it is worth a certain amount, but if you find enough things wrong with it you might be able to use this information to help negotiate the price down.
Kelly Blue Book is one of the most trusted names in car pricing, and their app is full of all that trusted information, so you can take it on the go. In all honesty, it’s not the best app of the lot, but it makes the list purely on the weight of the information contained within (and it’s free to boot).
In addition to pricing, it comes with reviews, the ability to compare cars side-by-side, photos, a tool for finding dealerships in your area and more. Next time the dealership throws a price at you, just show them the KBB value on your iPhone, and they just might loosen-up on their pricing.
Next time you are at the car dealership, don’t be afraid to pull out your iPhone and let the salesman know you mean business. Don’t let them take advantage of you, and make sure you walk out of the dealership knowing you bought the perfect car for you at a fair price.
What apps do you use for car shopping? Do have any car buying horror stories to share? Hit the comments section below and let us know!
Image credit: OK Used Cars (Jeremy Brooks)