If you follow me on Snapchat, you may have heard or seen that I traded in my Escalade for a newer car this past weekend. My husband and I have had several vehicles over the course of the last 18 years or so, so we have had experience in purchasing new and used vehicles but today I’m going to share with you my experiences and a few tips with getting a car of your own. If you have been following me a while – you may know that I used to drive a Cadillac Escalade ESV – the largest of the Cadillac Fleet. I’ve had this car for about five years and while I loved it and am thankful that it protected my family as long as it did, my husband and I felt that it was time to get something that was more economical and easier on gas costs. Prior to purchasing our Escalade, I had a Jeep Grand Cherokee and Mazda 3 so I have driven small cars before. But, I’m not gonna lie, switching from one to the other and after driving a very large SUV for so long – finding the right car can be a challenge.
My husband Kevin and I have gone back and forth looking at both new and used vehicles at different lots and settled on Aloha Kia because the customer service rating was high and my husband had a friend that worked there. We have purchased cars from three different dealerships in the past, Aloha Kia being the fourth and the process at Aloha Kia was quick and easy so I would definitely suggest it. Since we traded in my Cadillac, the choice to buy a new or used car was something we needed to figure out. Our goal was to eliminate as much of a monthly payment, or none at all when purchasing the vehicle – so we opted for a used, but newer car. I drove several at the dealership, but we decided that the 2013 Mazda 3 Touring Edition was the best choice for me. I was comfortable with the Mazda, having owned a 2008 Mazda 3 prior to my Escalade and my husband owns a Mazda 3 now. I’m not gonna lie – I like that we have “his and hers” cars and it’s kind of cute that we each have the same vehicle, just different years and colors.
As I mentioned, the process was easy and painless. Let’s face it – trying to buy a car, test drive it, fill out paperwork and all the other things in between can be a challenge with children, especially young ones. My husband and I had all three boys with us that day and they were entertained and Aloha Kia worked with us quickly so we could be in and out. Our sales person – Lance, was very polite, quick and knew what he was talking about. Aloha Kia also has a waiting room for their customers with toys, a television, books, magazines, coffee and water which made it easy to keep the boys (the twins especially) entertained.
Since my husband and I have been through this process before, we knew to be prepared with any information that we thought was needed. Between the test drive of several vehicles, discussing the price point, getting our Cadillac appraised and then working with the finance manager (his name was Jay and made the process easy as well) – which was quick and painless, the process was a breeze. Past purchases of vehicles took most of the day – we were in and out in about two hours, maybe less.
While our experience was pretty simple, I can remember what it was like to buy a car on my own in my early 20’s not have any idea as to what to do. Here are a few simple tips for you to make this process as simple and painless as possible:
1. Decide whether a new or used car will work for you. Figure out what you can afford financially prior to going down to the dealership so you are equipped with the information you need to help you buy your car.
2. Use the internet and research the dealership you are going to be visiting. Do they have positive reviews, negative reviews, issues, etc? Visit Yelp and see what other customers have said about the business and the employees or sales people. You want to be comfortable, not intimidated and most the time reviews on Yelp will let you know if you are walking into vultures before you even get there.
3. If you are interested in trading in a vehicle you already own, make sure to look up the KBB or Kelly Blue Book Value on the car so you are armed with information and a price you can ask for trade-in value. This goes for buying new or used cars as well… look up the KBB Value so you can use this information to negotiate with the sales or finance person you are working with. Again – the key is to be prepared so you are not caught off guard or left vulnerable. Also – many dealerships now offer free Carfax reports in person or via their online site on used cars. So be sure to check out that report prior to going in to buy the car – then you’ll be prepared with important info that you may need to buy.
4. Take someone with you when you decide to go down and start the buying process. Often times having a spouse or a friend/relative with you while going through the process will not make it seem so intimidating.
5. If trading in your vehicle for something else – don’t forget the following documents: Current Registration, Current Safety-check and Title of Ownership for your vehicle. The process can all be done in one visit if you have all of this info with you.
6. While at the dealership – if for any reason you feel uncomfortable with your salesman, do not hesitate to ask for another or speak with the manager or supervisor. Sometimes salesmen can be a bit pushy. I tend to aggressive when people get that way with me, but not everyone is like me… so if you don’t feel comfy – move on to the next sales person or dealership. Follow your gut and stand your ground.
7. Test drive that car for as far as you need to in order to get the feel of the car and if it is right for you. Remember, some people keep their vehicles on average between 6 to 15 years so make sure it drives like you want it to, that is has enough room for you and that it fits your needs. Put it to the test.
8. Verify all warranty options on both new and used cars before committing to buy. Will the warranty work for you and your lifestyle. Also check to see what your options are for oil change, flat tires, etc.
9. Before going into the dealership – be sure to check your credit score. Credit Karma offers you free credit scores and is a site I use to verify my credit score often. This way you can push for the best possible rate when negotiating price and interest rate and will have an idea as to whether or not you need a down payment to reduce your monthly payment if not buying outright.
10. The key to an easy purchase is to be prepared. Whether you are buying a car for the first time or have done this many times before, the more information you have to arm yourself in this journey, the easier the process for you. Remember, they need to work with you and your terms. If you don’t like how you are treated or what is happening, you have the right to walk away and find another dealership.
So – we finalized our purchase and picked up a 2013 Mazda 3 i Grand Touring Sedan with a 2.0L 4 Cylinder 6 Speed Automatic with black interior. It’s a four door which fits my family perfectly and is in the color Graphite Mica. It comes with a push button start (which is taking me some getting used to), Bluetooth streaming (which I love) and satellite radio. Hands free phone options for calling, answering and more – which is a great safety feature and I also love that it has most of the bells and whistles that my Escalade had, is comfy cozy and fast. I’m definitely looking forward to zoom zooming around in my new set of wheels. I love it and it’s nice paying $35 for a full tank of gas instead of $70 – $100 (or more sometimes) with my Escalade. The car interior is spotless for a used car – it literally looks showroom ready and the mileage is very low. While I will certainly miss my Escalade and I do miss being in a larger vehicle, I am enjoying my newer car.
I’m truly lucky in that I have a husband that pretty much sacrifices everything for me and our boys so while this purchase was a last minute decision, we still had to ensure that it was financially sound. Aloha Kia also helped in making the process so easy and painless and I’m thankful that the people there made our purchase quick and simple. Buying your next car or an additional car should never be a task, but exciting!
I am definitely enjoying my newer car and love how it drives. While I do miss my Escalade (as I have all my other vehicles in the past) I’m very happy with our purchase. This car is easy on the eyes and a great car. This is the 3rd Mazda 3 we’ve owned and we are loving it.
“Thanks babe for always taking care of me! xo”
Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored in anyway. The car was purchased by my husband and I with our own money. This is an informational post and all opinions are my own, 100% honest and unbiased. Affiliate links are posted through out.