New car buying tips from Adam Goldfein


Editor’s note: Lawyer and car-buying expert Adam Goldfein fills in for Clark Howard Monday the 19th – Wednesday the 21st of this week. Below is a summary of some of what he discussed. Visit for more information.

New car shopping can be befuddling. Follow Adam Goldfein’s advice and you’ll be able to enjoy that new car smell!

The first thing to understand is that “new” means that a vehicle has never been titled; it has nothing to do with mileage. You can have a vehicle that’s used as a demo and it has less than 100 miles on it, but it can still be sold as “new.”

In fact, all new cars have mileage on them, whether it’s 10 miles or 50 miles. But if a vehicle has more than 100 miles on it, ask these questions:

  • Why does it have over 100 miles on the odometer? Was it transferred in from a different dealership?
  • If it was used as a demo, when was it put into demo service? This is important to ask because the date it was put into demo service triggers the start of the warranty.

When trying to decide between a 2011 model and a 2012 model, what’s the difference?

Vehicles depreciated between 20% and 25% during the very first year. So if you’re being offered a 2011 model, the price after discounts and rebates should be 20% to 25% less than the price on the 2012 model.

If it’s not, buy the 2012 because it’s worth more money. But if the discount is at least 25%, go with the 2011, because it’s a better deal. You get the depreciation out upfront. That’s the reason you hear some people say to buy a one, two or three year old used car.

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