Is Buying a Car As a Gift for the Holidays a Good Idea?
We’ve all seen those commercials where someone gives a car as a surprise holiday gift. Does that really happen? Yes, yes it does.
Many people do it every year, but before you go out in search of a big red bow to put on the hood, there are a few do’s and don’ts you should take into account.
Do: Make sure it’s the right car
This sounds obvious, but imagine putting all the time, money, and effort into crafting this huge holiday surprise only to find out that the vehicle is the exact opposite of what the gift receiver might want. It’s too big, it’s the wrong color, it’s inefficient — the possibilities are endless, and you most likely won’t be able to return this like you could with an ugly sweater.
To avoid these issues, subtly ask about the type of features the recipient would want in a new car. This can be done by asking the person what they think when you see a commercial for a car you think the person might like, or even take a test drive for fun by positioning it as a chance to just “see what a new car would feel like.”
Don’t: Forget about financing and registration options
Things can get a little bit tricky when it comes to financing the new vehicle. If the car is for a significant other and you need to finance it, you might not be able to pull of a “complete” surprise because both of you might need to be listed on loan documents and paperwork. However, talk to the dealer and explain your situation, and they might cut you some slack and only insist that you come in right after the surprise to finalize all the paperwork.
You’ll run into a similar situation with the registration, because in some states you legally can’t buy a car in someone else’s name and the other person must be there to sign the paperwork if you have a shared title.
In both situations, just be sure to talk with the dealership or DMV to learn your state’s laws regarding finance and vehicle titles. Don’t be disheartened — it can be done!
Do: Tell the dealer it’s a surprise
Tell the salesperson what you’re doing and that you want this car to be a surprise. First of all, they’ll probably be excited for you and like to know that they’re in on the secret. Second, they’ve most likely done a surprise car deal before, so they might have additional ideas or expert opinions on the subject — or offer to throw in a big red bow. If possible, try to keep the number of people working on your deal relatively small so there’s less chance of the secret slipping out.
Don’t: Give the dealership your home phone number
If you’re someone who still has a home phone line — or you share a mobile phone with the gift recipient — don’t give that number to the dealership. Imagine planning this huge surprise only to have the salesperson call your home phone and leave a message talking about the new car you just bought, ruining a surprise that you’ve spent months planning.
If you’re paranoid about this happening, you can give them your work number or even get a temporary Google Voice phone number for the calls you make regarding the car.
Do: Order it far in advance
If you’re planning on a holiday surprise, take into account the fact that December is one of the busiest car buying times of the year. In addition, it coincides with the end of the model year, so the selection might be less than robust.
Plus, if you’re ordering a car to meet the wants and needs of the gift recipient, rather than buying one off the dealership’s lot, you’ll want to start the process as early as possible. There’s always the chance of a production or delivery delay, so be sure to leave a few days and/or weeks of breathing room between ordering it and finally revealing the surprise.
Do: Bring your car into Milito’s Auto Repair
Once you’ve revealed the surprise, be sure to bring in your new car to Milito’s Auto Repair in Chicago for all your vehicle servicing needs. If you need any help at all as you find your perfect gift car, reach out to our experts for free assistance. Contact us today!