The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

A Pro Who Knows-Steven Elms

Steven Elms
Steven Elms
Steven Elms
Steven Elms

Steven Elms, instructor/coordinator of small engine technology on South Campus, shares his advice on what students should consider when buying a car.

Q: When looking for a vehicle to purchase, would you recommend students buy new or used?

A: It’s more economical to buy used. Tremendous depreciation takes place once [the vehicle] goes from new to used.

Q: If individuals do decide to buy used, should they go to a dealership, such as CarMax, or buy from an individual seller?

A: This is kind of a gamble. If you buy from a dealer, it’s a little more expensive. You can save money if you buy from an individual, but you lack the benefit of the dealership standing behind you in case something goes wrong.

Q: What are the benefits, if any, of purchasing an extended warranty?

A: Service policies are just like gambling. You’re betting that you are going to have a breakdown that will be covered in the policy. It’s similar to purchasing insurance for your vehicle.

Q: What kind of homework should a potential buyer do before they even step foot on the lot?

A: The most significant thing to do is check into the financing available to them. A lot of times, individuals can get a better interest rate from their own personal bank than the dealership’s financing center.

Q: Are the sticker prices on the window non-negotiable, or can you haggle them a little bit?

A: In almost every case, those sticker prices are mere suggestions or starting points. Almost no one pays list price for a new vehicle unless it’s a special interest vehicle.

Q: When looking for a car, should a potential buyer consider his or her lifestyle in the decision-making process?

A: Oh definitely, the most important thing about the new car is that it’s something they really want. It’s a major investment they will be paying for many years. Make sure it’s something they really want and not just in the moment. These decisions are what need to be thought of ahead of time before they go to the dealership and are caught up in the shiny paint job and the new car smell.

Q: What are some signs to look for that will tip you off to a rip-off?

A: Doing your homework and getting a feel for what a particular car sells for will give you some idea of what you’ll be willing to pay for a car—it’s not always an iron-clad deal, but it will give you some idea. Also, watch for conditions of loans. And double check to see if you really are required to buy extras. Any high-pressure sales tactics are something to look for.

Readers with ideas for this column should e-mail them to tcceditor@lycos.com

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