A document with the word caa on it.

Jan 18, 2024

7 min. read

So, you’re finally ready to buy that new car. How exciting! Ahead of going into a dealership, do some research to know what type of vehicle you are looking for – an SUV, truck or sedan? New or used? Look online at different dealers to search through their inventory. We also recommend making an appointment before going to the dealership. This will help with the waiting process and have a salesperson available to help you.

Know your budget.

If purchasing a used vehicle, request a Carfax report and any service history they may have. Take a good look at the exterior for any damages or rust that may be present.

If purchasing a new car, your options may be limited. Some new orders are taking anywhere from six to 12 months to arrive, and sometimes longer. Dealers may have limited inventory on the lot, so if you are looking for something specific, be prepared for the wait. If you are open to options, you may be able to get a new car quicker.

An older man leaning on the hood of a sports car.

Be sure to take the vehicle for a good test drive.

It goes without saying but it’s important to take the vehicle out on the road so you can see how it handles. Test the brakes, practice merging lanes and parking the car. Think about your daily driving needs and if the car meets them: do you need a lot of trunk space for sports equipment? Will it fit when parked in your garage? Don’t rush the test drive, take your time to consider the things that are most important for you to have in a new car.

Make sure you have the right auto insurance in place.

Once you have found the vehicle, don’t sit on the decision too long, as it may not last. This may also be a good time to call your insurance company to get a quote.

CAA Insurance1 offers perks and benefits that amount to extra value for you, plus you get extra savings if you’re a CAA Member2. If you drive less than 12,000 km/year, you may want to consider CAA MyPace®; it’s a pay-as-you-go auto insurance payment program. Just pay a base rate to protect your car, then purchase coverage in 1,000 km increments as you drive – this could add up to big savings in your favour.

A man and woman talking to a car dealer in a showroom.

What to do when you are ready to buy.

Go over payment options with the salesperson to decide what works best for you. Interest rates are at an all-time high, however dealers prefer financing over cash deals, as they make money on the finance side.

Negotiating is not like it once was. Dealers do not have the deals or discounts they used to have; but you may be able to get a bit more for your trade-in to make a deal. If you want an idea of what your estimated trade-in value is, contact CAA Auto Advice at 1-866-464-6448 or autoadvice@caasco.ca

Once the decision has been made to move forward with the sale, the salesperson will take you into the business office. When in there, the Business Manager will take your credit application (if financing or leasing) and go over extended warranty options and protection packages.

Don’t get caught up in all the shiny extras.

You are receiving a lot of important information but there’s no need to feel overwhelmed. Take a breath and listen to what the Business Manager has to say. Typically, CAA would say to skip the extended warranties. Surveys show that it is rare that the premium you pay will equal the amount of a paid repair claim down the line, unless you choose a model known to have a trouble reliability history or cannot afford a sudden unexpected repair. If deciding to proceed with an extended warranty, CAA would recommend going with the manufacturer’s warranty and not a third party due to the items that they cover.

CAA would also recommend skipping the paint protection, fabric guard and rust module as there is insufficient evidence that proves they work. CAA only recommends Krown Rust Control for rustproofing and as a CAA Member, you can save.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Before signing the bill of sale or any other contracts, be sure you fully understand what you are signing. If you have questions or do not understand something, just ask the salesperson. It is a big investment after all, and you want to have all the information at your fingertips. Now, it’s time to visit the car dealership, take that test drive and put your name on a shiny, new car. Happy driving!

Terms and Condition

1 Auto Insurance is underwritten by CAA Insurance Company. 2 To qualify for the discount you must be a current CAA Member in good standing. (CAA Memebrship dues paid by membership expiry date). CAA Everyday Member maximum savings on auto insurance is 5%. ® CAA trademarks are owned by, and use is authorized by, the Canadian Automobile Association.

Certian conditions, limitation and underwriring guidelines apply.