How to Research and Find a New Car

Auto Smarts

Take the guesswork out of car shopping with Farmers Car Shopping Series. Whether it’s finding the right car for you or estimating what you can afford, we’ve got you covered with practical advice and tips!

SUV, crossover, or sedan? Premium audio and navigation? Leather or cloth? Heated seats or sunroof? Black, silver, or white? When it comes to cars, the choices are mind-boggling.

But car buying doesn’t have to be overwhelming, if you take it one step at a time.

Start by narrowing down which type of car you want. Asking yourself a few simple questions now can make the process a whole lot easier. Once you have your shortlist, doing your homework before you buy can help you make a smarter, informed decision.

Here are some tips to help you research a new car:


1. Custom build your car online.

Want to see what your future car will look like? Visit the vehicle configurator on the manufacturer’s website. Typically those sites let you virtually build your ideal vehicle right in front of your eyes, playing with model, colors, options, etc. There's no better way to see exactly how your new car will look, inside and out…plus it makes it easy to show off your expected new buy.

2. Get a rough estimate of your monthly payment.

Any "Build and Price" website can help you calculate what your monthly payment might be, to help get your wallet ready. That estimate is usually based on factors like:

  • The manufacturer's suggested retail price for that model
  • The options you’ve selected,
  • Any manufacturer financing incentives or offers


3. Call dealerships ahead of time.

Even though car shopping websites may list a particular vehicle, there's no guarantee the specific color or trim will be available in the actual dealer inventory.

If you're looking for something very specific, save yourself some footwork and call dealerships ahead of time to find out if they have a matching car in their inventory, or whether they're able to trade for it from a nearby partner dealership.


4. Talk to your insurance agent before you buy.

It may sound backwards to start talking car insurance before you buy the car, but in actuality, it can give you a better sense of the full cost of ownership before you put money down. When you talk to a Farmers agent about the car you plan to buy, they can provide an estimated insurance rate, which coupled with that payment estimation you got, can give you a clearer picture of just how much your new car could cost you.


Why can’t I find the car I want in the dealer’s inventory?

When dealerships order the new cars they want on their lots, like most store owners, they’re more likely to choose models they think will sell. That means selecting the cars most likely to please the broadest variety of consumers.

If you’re in the market for an unusual color, a basic trim level, or a manual transmission, it may be difficult to find in stock on most dealership lots. Plus, keep in mind that particularly popular models tend to sell out quickly.

If, for instance, you’re shopping for a Bronze Fire Lincoln MKZ, your search might be a little frustrating, since it's not a very popular color choice. On the other hand, if you just want a black, sedan, you'll probably find your new car in no time, at almost any dealership.

So, while it's important to know what make and model you want to buy, you’re far more likely to find a match at a dealership nearby if you’re flexible with the colors and options you want.

If, on the other hand, you have a specific trim, color, and model in mind, it helps to be patient and proactive. Doing your research, calling dealerships, expanding your search area, and asking around can help locate the car you want. Just make sure to act quickly when you find it.

Remember, you always have the option to custom-order your new car directly from the dealer. Although delivery can take several weeks, the car’s usually built to your exact specifications, so you get exactly what you want.


Farmers Car Shopping Service can help you save on your next car

While the Farmers Car Shopping Service* powered by TrueCar can’t guarantee the color and trim you want, it can give you Guaranteed Savings off MSRP on new cars. You can also see what others paid for the same car you configured, so you know when you’re getting a good deal.

The Farmers Car Shopping Service monitors what people are paying daily for their cars so you can get upfront pricing information from Certified Dealers within minutes, and know how those prices compare to the current market.

Also, the upfront pricing information includes incentives and any special savings. All fees are factored in as well to eliminate any surprises at the dealership.

To start your (new or used) car search use the Farmers Car Shopping Service to get your Guaranteed Savings and find the fair market price for the vehicle you’re interested in purchasing.






*The Farmers Car Shopping Service website is owned and operated by TrueCar, which is not affiliated with any of the companies comprising the Farmers Insurance Group of Companies. Your use of the website is subject to TrueCar’s Privacy Policy. Guaranteed Savings and upfront dealer pricing information not available in all states. In these states, a Target Price is shown, which is a market-based example of what you can reasonably expect to pay for your vehicle as configured. Your configured vehicle may not be available or in-stock at the Certified Dealers.

The information contained in this page is provided for general informational purposes only. The information is provided by Farmers and while we endeavor to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to this article or the information, products, services or related graphics, if any, contained in this article for any purpose. The information is not meant as professional or expert advice, and any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.


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