Getting the best possible deal when buying a car or truck in Tennessee requires research. This is a major decision for most consumers and shouldn’t be rushed into it. Three major decisions must be made before making an auto purchase. They are:
1) Determine your budget for an auto. Don’t base the decision on just monthly auto payments. Determine how much money you can pay up front in cash, with a auto trade-in, or both. While it’s best to put down as much as you can afford, preferably at least 20 percent, auto dealers do offer zero down terms. Financial experts recommend that the total debt payment for an auto shouldn’t be more than 36 percent of gross income.
2) Choose the auto make and model you prefer. If you need basic transportation, consider an economical, fuel efficient car or truck.
3) Decide whether you want a new auto or whether a higher-end used truck or car model will work for you. New, more expensive vehicles are not always better. Select the car or truck according to its main characteristics (value, price range, need).
While the best you can hope for when trading in a car or truck is to get the vehicle wholesale value, there can be tax advantages with a trade-in. Most states require that sales tax only be applied on the difference between the price of a trade-in and the cost of the newer vehicle. This tax benefit does not apply if you sell a vehicle yourself. Try to sell your auto to a used-car dealer first. If yours is a popular model, you just might be able to get more than the wholesale price for it.
If you’re undecided about a vehicle make or model to buy, read reviews of various cars or trucks. Important areas to consider are a vehicle’s reliability, fuel economy, safety history, service department quality, automotive features, and owner experiences. Learn how the car handles, accelerates, and brakes. Hearing about the experiences of vehicle owners can give you insight into a car or truck. There are plenty of automotive Web sites where you can read the opinions of owners who are the most insightful about a particular auto make or model.
Search for current rebate and financing offers for the vehicle models that interest you. Also, look to see which vehicles retain the most and least value through Kelly Blue Book or similar auto value lookup tool. Compare the retail and wholesale price of autos when buying a second hand vehicle.
When you decide which type of vehicle you want, look for one that gets good fuel economy for its class. If you want a 3-row SUV, for instance, you can save about $640 a year by choosing a 20-mpg Kia Sorento V6 instead of a 15-mpg Nissan Pathfinder V6 (assuming gasoline is $3.20 a gallon and you drive 12,000 a year). While diesel cars usually get about 30 percent better fuel economy than similar gasoline-powered vehicles, diesel fuel is more expensive nowadays.
Decide which transmission type you want. While automatic transmissions are the choice of most American car buyers, manual transmissions are often available in inexpensive or sporty models and provide better performance and fuel economy than automatics. A design being used more recently by automakers is a computer-shifted manual transmission that works like an automatic but provides the sporty shift feel of a manual.
Learn auto loan interest rates in Tennessee and decide on the number of years you’re willing to make car payments. Car dealers or auto manufacturers often offer rebates or low-interest financing, but rarely both together. Combining a rebate with a higher interest bank or credit union car loan may provide a lower initial loan balance and, in many cases, a lower monthly payment.
Vehicle maintenance costs and availability of spare parts are important factors to consider before making a car or truck purchase in Tennessee. That includes the cost of gas, vehicle maintenance, etc. Other auto costs include sales tax and Tennessee DMV registration fees.
The cost of insuring an auto in Tennessee varies greatly from model to model and by zip code of the insured. Always get the cost of insuring a vehicle prior to buying. Getting an insurance quote online is fast and easy.