How to Buy a Car From a Dealership in Tri-Cities, WA

May 23rd, 2024 by

If you’re buying a car from a dealer for the first time, you might be concerned about a few things: the steps to buying a car, getting a good deal, choosing the right car, and dealing with pushy salespeople. Don’t worry—we’ve got you covered. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about buying a new car from a dealership in Tri-Cities, WA.


1. Set Your Budget.

The first step in buying a new car is knowing how much you can afford. This helps you avoid getting attached to a car that’s out of your budget.

Start by figuring out your monthly income after taxes, then list all your monthly expenses like rent, utilities, groceries, and any loan payments you already have. Also, check how much you have saved for a down payment.

Once you know your finances, set a realistic budget. It’s a good idea to aim for a down payment of at least 20% of the car’s price and try to keep your monthly car payment within 15% of your income.

Don’t forget to include taxes, insurance, and maintenance in your budget. Also, think about your financing options. Look at interest rates from banks and credit unions, compare them with what the dealership offers, and decide if you want a loan or a lease.


2. Research Your Options.

Think about what you need in a car. Do you need a sedan, an SUV, or a truck? What features are important to you, like fuel efficiency, safety ratings, and tech options? Consider how you’ll use the car—daily commute, family trips, off-road adventures, etc.

Make a list of potential models that fit your needs. Read customer reviews and expert ratings to learn about the pros and cons of each one. Check reliability scores from trusted sources like Consumer Reports to make sure you pick a dependable vehicle.

Look up the MSRP for each model, search for manufacturer incentives and dealership promotions, and consider long-term costs like fuel, insurance, and maintenance.


3. Find a Reputable Dealership.

A good dealership will be upfront about pricing and financing, offer great customer service, and provide solid after-sales support. To find reputable dealerships in Tri-Cities, WA, start with an online search and check local business directories and review sites. Ask friends, family, and coworkers for recommendations too.

Once you have a list of potential dealerships, read online reviews on Google, Yelp, and other review sites. Check their ratings and feedback on social media. Personal recommendations are also really reliable, so don’t hesitate to ask around.


Step 4: Visit the Dealership.

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, it’s time to visit the dealerships. Schedule an appointment to make sure a salesperson is available to help you. Prepare a list of questions about the car or the buying process. Bring your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and any financial documents you might need.

When you’re at the dealership, take a close look at the cars you’re interested in. Ask the salesperson about the car’s features, warranty, and financing options.


5. Test Drive the Car.

During the drive, pay attention to how smoothly the car starts and accelerates, and listen for any odd noises. Make sure the transmission shifts seamlessly, and the brakes respond well without pulling to one side. Check the steering for accuracy and see how the car handles turns and bumps.

Test the suspension for comfort and ensure features like air conditioning, heating, and the infotainment system work properly. Make sure the seats are comfortable and visibility is good, with no significant blind spots.


6. Review Financing and Payment Options.

Compare the interest rates from the dealership with those from banks and credit unions. Make sure you understand the loan terms, including the down payment. Get pre-approved offers from multiple lenders and compare the monthly payments and total interest over the loan term. You can use our car payment calculator to do this. 

Look out for any hidden fees or penalties. Also, review the contract details carefully before signing. Make sure you understand the warranty terms and see if there are any mandatory service agreements.


7. Negotiate the Price.

To negotiate effectively, make sure you’ve done your homework and know the car’s market value. Stay calm and polite during the negotiation, but stick to your budget. It’s really important to know what the car is worth. 

You can use online resources like Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds to find out the market value, and check prices of similar cars in your area. Also, keep an eye out for any manufacturer incentives or promotions.

Set your limits and stick to them. If the deal doesn’t fit your budget, be ready to walk away. Sometimes, waiting a few days can get you a better offer. Having a backup plan can also give you more leverage during negotiations.


8. Finalize the Paperwork.

Take your time to go over the sales contract thoroughly. If there’s anything you don’t get, ask for an explanation. Don’t sign it until you’re totally happy with everything. Make sure you know what’s covered under the warranty, the service plans, and the dealership’s return policy. 

Be sure that any verbal promises are written into the contract. Double-check the final price, including all fees and taxes, and set a delivery date for the car.


9. Take Delivery of Your New Car.

Look over the car for any damage or defects and make sure it has all the features you agreed on. Double-check that all the paperwork is correct. Have the salesperson show you how everything works, read the owner’s manual for detailed instructions, and test all the controls and features to make sure they work.

Schedule your first service appointment and plan a follow-up visit to address any concerns. This will help keep your new car running smoothly and ensure you’re happy with your purchase.


10 Questions to Ask When Buying a Car from a Dealership

If you’re the type to get too excited and forget to ask important questions at the dealership, write these questions down and bring the list with you. 

  1. What is the MSRP for this car?
  2. Can you explain the different warranty options available?
  3. What are the additional fees associated with this car?
  4. What are your financing options? 
  5. What is the fuel efficiency rating for this car? 
  6. What is the recommended maintenance schedule for this car?
  7. Is there any negotiation room on the price?
  8. Are there any current manufacturer rebates or incentives available for this car?
  9. What is the interest rate for financing this car through the dealership?
  10. Can I trade in my current vehicle?


Trusted Ford Dealership in Tri-Cities, WA

If you’re looking for a trustworthy car dealer in Washington, consider visiting Corwin Ford Tri-Cities. We’re part of the family-owned Corwin Auto Group, with over 100 years of experience, so we really know how to prioritize customer satisfaction and build community trust. 

We want to make buying a car easy and enjoyable for you. Our team is friendly and knows their stuff, so they’re always ready to help. And even after you buy your car, our top-notch service department will keep it running smoothly.

Call, browse our online inventory, or visit Corwin Ford Tri-Cities today. We serve customers in Pasco, Kennewick, Richland, Walla Walla, Hermiston, Umatilla, Yakima, Spokane, Sunnyside, Grandview, Dayton, Prescott, Benton County, Franklin County, Yakima County, Spokane County, Adams County, Grant County, and the Greater Columbia Basin. 



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