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Our Most Recent Article in Kiplinger

Five Car Buying Tips

Do you find the process of buying and servicing your car daunting and intimidating? You are not alone. Ark Royal founder Mike Palmer outlines some tips to even the playing field when either buying a car or getting repairs. Here's a link to the full article.

Do Your Homework

Car pricing can be found at numerous places on the Internet. Car repair costs can also be found on websites such as RepairPal and YourMechanic. This info can give you an idea if the repair estimate is in line with the diagnosed problem.

Get a Second Opinion

Car repairs are outside the circle of competence of most of us. If you’re presented with a four-figure repair estimate, seek a second opinion.

Don't Get Framed

Framing is a behavioral finance heuristic often used in sales. When the salesman presented the initial offer, he immediately highlighted the monthly payment. This is a common tactic to make a purchase seem more palatable. $325 per month seems a lot less than $23,000. I was quick to bring the discussion back to the figure that really mattered — the bottom line. When dealing with repairs, insist on an itemized estimate.

Strength in Numbers

Don’t go alone. Take a friend or family member along and ask them to play the “bad cop.” Let the bad cop mention nearby dealers and push for pricing discounts. It’s always easier to stand firm when you have someone by your side.

The purchase and maintenance of one’s car is a major expense in most households. Be a wise consumer and make sure you aren’t paying more than necessary.