Matt Degen is an editor at Kelley Blue Book, a website that helps consumers find and buy used and new vehicles.

Global supply chain issues have reduced the inventory of new vehicles, leading to long waits to buy a car. When will things get back to normal? None of us have a crystal ball, but our analysts believe that by the end of the year some of these supply constraints will have eased. And we are already seeing this, as inventory levels are increasing very, very slowly. These are small steps towards some normality, even if it may be a new normal. Because automakers are selling cars even with leaner inventory, I think a lot of them are realizing that they don’t need to make as many cars.

Is there hope for those currently in the market for a new car? Yes. It’s not like all the parking lots are empty. There are new and used cars to buy. You might not get exactly the car you want in terms of color and features. Some car manufacturers allow customers to configure the car of their choice on their website. After that, they work with the dealership to buy the car. But the process of manufacturing and shipping the car could take several months.

If you need a car right now, look for a less popular small car, like a sedan or sedan. SUVs, trucks and minivans are still rare. I know buying a small car is not feasible for those who need a larger family vehicle. But if you just need good transportation, you should have better luck finding these types of cars.

If you find an available car, can you negotiate the price? Traditionally, dealers expected customers to bargain. Customers would go to a site such as, look up the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, and negotiate from there. However, in the current environment, buyers can expect to pay the list price or even more. We don’t see many offers because dealers don’t need to offer you one. If they don’t sell you a car, they’ll sell it to the next person in line.

Buyers can always try to negotiate financing terms. At Kelley Blue Book, we’ve always encouraged people to get pre-approved for a loan from their bank or credit union. That way, they can go to the dealership with financing lined up and use that as a bargaining tool. The dealer may offer better financing, which will save you money.

What about used cars? We suggest that you look for a certified pre-owned vehicle, meaning that it has been checked and repaired and, more importantly, that it comes with a warranty. Financing terms are also negotiable for used cars. If you are looking for a specific car, new or used, that is not available in your area, you may be able to work with an out-of-state dealership. There are transportation services that can bring the car to you, and the dealership can handle these details and help you with any sales tax issues.

In light of the high cost of new and used cars, does it make sense to fix your existing car to keep it limping? The general rule is that if the repairs cost what the car is worth or more, it’s probably time to look for a new car. But even if the repair is less than that, it might not be the smartest move. If you are unsure about certain repairs, have a mechanic examine the car. It might cost you, say, $150, but a good mechanic can let you know about current problems with your car and potential problems in the future.