Here Are Some Expert Tips for Buying a New or Used Car in the Current Crazy Market

If you have followed any automotive news this year, then you’re probably fully aware of the nationwide inventory shortages at car dealerships. These shortages are caused by the lack of computer chips to make new cars, which has ultimately raised new and used car prices across the board.

In fact, the average price of a new car is $46,000 and it’s up to $27,000 for a used car. Technically, it could be better to wait until 2022 to buy a car, but if you need to get it done now, then are some tips from Brian Moody, Executive Editor at Autotrader.com.

Expect to pay the sticker price or higher for a new car right now

 A sale sign is seen on the windshield of a used car at Novato Ford in Novato, California.
A sale sign is seen on the windshield of a used car at Novato Ford in Novato, California. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

If you’re on the hunt for a new car right now, then you can expect to pay the full MSRP for it, if not more. Moody told ABC7 News, “The supply of new car is about 64% less than it was this time last year.”

Dealers can adjust the price of their cars depending on their supply and demand of them. As such, many dealers in low supply of new and used cars have been increasing prices to follow closely with the rising market for them.

Casting a wider search net can lead to your dream car and a better deal

New Volkswagen vehicles parked outside a Volkswagen dealership in South Edmonton.
New Volkswagen vehicles parked outside a Volkswagen dealership in South Edmonton. | Artur Widak/NurPhoto

When searching for a new or used car in the current market, you might not find what you’re looking for in your local vicinity. In that case, it’s important to stay flexible and cast a wider net by searching nationwide and be willing to ship the car or fly out and pick it up. If possible, you can even increase your odds of getting the type of vehicle that you need by switching to something smaller and just as capable.

“Many sedans today have SUV-like features, for example, you can get all-wheel drive, you can have cargo nets in the trunk, you can get heated seats, these type of things,” Moody said.

A better deal doesn’t only mean a discount on the car

While you might not be able to get a discount on a new or used car like before, you can still save money or get a better deal in other ways. “[You can negotiate] things like APR, you can look for advantages in terms of financing or the best interest rate. Ask if they have free car washes or can I get some oil changes,” Moody said.

If you don’t want to apply for financing with the dealership, then we encourage buyers to apply for financing through their own bank or credit union. A credit union will typically have the lowest interest rates and having your financing done beforehand can speed up the car-buying process.

Buy your next car from a larger car dealership as opposed to a smaller private one

 Interior of a KIA dealership in Madrid, Spain.
Interior of a KIA dealership in Madrid, Spain. | Eduardo Parra /Europa Press via Getty Images

RELATED: Should You ‘Hide Your Trade-in’ When Buying a New Car?

Larger franchise car dealerships are typically a better option when it comes to buying cars as they have a reputation to protect and will take care of their customers more. Some even offer limited-time warranties in order to sweeten the deal, which is welcome given the current market conditions.

Stay vigilant when buying a new or used car right now

Lastly, if you need to buy a car this year and can’t wait, remember to stay vigilant and explore all of your options to find the right car that you need. “This is going to take time because there is a shortage so you’re going to have to spend the time that it takes to find the exact right car for you,” Moody mentioned.

Don’t give up hope. But if you do, don’t worry, there’s always next year.

RELATED: Is January a Good Month to Buy a New Car?