The Changing Rules for Buying a Car

Car buying has changed over the years and so have most of the old rules. In the past, you may have looked for a low-mileage car with good tires and thought that was good enough. Gas efficiency may have been your main concern, or you may have focused on foiling tricky salespeople. Remember, the year is 2018, so the rules from past decades no longer apply. You need to forget the old myths and restrictions in order to find the right vehicle for you.


Not too long ago, people thought you were crazy if you bought a high-mileage car. Any vehicle approaching or passing 100,000 miles on the odometer was a risk, no matter if the miles were “highway” miles or accumulated mainly in the city. You couldn’t count on your engine to make it another 5,000 miles, and replacing the engine would cost thousands of dollars. Most people passed on these models.

You need to alter your ideas about a high-mileage vehicle. Due to improved technology and synthetic oils, many engines are just getting started when they roll past 100,000. With proper maintenance, many cars can easily make it to 200,000 and even beyond.

Experts recommend researching cars and trucks to find a well-reviewed model. Since you may be keeping the car for years, you need to choose something you can live with for thousands of days. Also, if you are planning a family in the next few years, buy something with enough space for a child or two. Once you choose a vehicle, whether it be new or used, make certain to follow maintenance recommendations. If you do, your car or truck should last for years, and maybe even a decade or more.

Fuel Efficiency

Fuel efficiency is still a big concern, but it isn’t the most important criteria anymore for many buyers. When gas prices were $4 per gallon, people might choose a compact car even if they had to cram the kids and the dogs into a tiny space. Now that gas prices are consistently well under $3 per gallon, you have a little leeway in your pursuit of good gas mileage. If you want a compact or subcompact that gets 40 mpg, then you should buy one. If you have a larger family, you can still find a vehicle that has solid gas mileage but comes with head and leg room. Gas mileage continues to improve, so smaller isn’t always better. In fact, the U.S. average gas mileage in 2016 was 24.8, with many models offering much higher numbers.

The introduction of hybrids and fully electric cars also help free you from old gas mileage considerations. Many vehicles on the market now are relatively inexpensive to run but offer you comfort and style.


To much of the population, salespeople are mythical creatures who are out to trick and overcharge you. As a result, potential buyers often enter a dealership armed with techniques to best the sales force and leave with a fabulous deal. While you still need to be informed, the game has changed due to the internet. Getting the rock bottom price used to take skill and luck. Now you can simply get on the internet and comparison shop there. By the time you enter the dealership, you should already know what they have on the lot, how much they want for each vehicle, and what their competition is charging. You should also know what your old car is worth before you arrive.

Since the process has become much more transparent, the sale is less stressful. You won’t go home wondering if you could have purchased the same car for thousands less two cities over. You can leave the old strategies at home such as threatening to walk out on the deal, buying on a rainy day when no one else is shopping, or hiding your trade-in until you’ve settled on the new car’s price.

If you enjoy haggling, then you can go into the dealership unprepared. Otherwise, you can quit worrying so much about being tricked by the sales staff.

Foreign Cars

If you want to buy American, sticking with the models from the old Detroit automakers is no longer necessary. You used to be able to buy any number of vehicles that were made completely in the U.S. or cars that were completely made in Japan. Now, most vehicles are a blend of foreign and domestic. Many “foreign” cars are actually assembled in the U.S. now, and “domestic” vehicles often have foreign parts. You can still find a few models that are 100 percent American, but many are a blend of both worlds. Remember, You can buy a foreign car and still benefit local autoworkers in places like Kentucky and Alabama. Buying a foreign model doesn’t mean you aren’t loyal to the red, white, and blue.

Many car buying rules or myths are past their expiration date. Changes in technology, manufacturing practices, and internet shopping all mean you have more and better choices. You don’t have to be a car person to feel secure when you buy a car or truck. And you certainly don’t need to wait to find a desperate salesperson on a rainy Tuesday. Today’s car shopping can be done in the bright sunlight.

If you are going to a dealership to buy a car soon, we gathered our top three tips to help negotiate buying a car.

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  • That is nice to know that I don’t have to be a car person to feel securing buying a truck. Maybe it would be good to buy a used truck sometime soon to drive around in. Maybe this could help get me started in learning more about cars.