Uh-oh! Your old car is dead, and you’ll be needing a new one. Or maybe you’ve gotten a new job, and can finally afford your first new car! Either way, you’ll need to know how to choose a new car that’s right for you. I can help! Below are my ten tips for choosing a new car…
1 Work Your Budget
The first thing you need to know is how much you can spend. Have you been saving over the years so that you now have a lump sum in your savings account to pay cash, or will you have to finance a car payment? Be sure to consider insurance costs, and any repairs that might need to be made, and also new tires just in case. Once you have a budget in mind, you’re ready to move on to step two!
2 Plan Your Usage
Will this be a fun, weekend car, or a serious day-to-day commuter? How many miles do you plan to drive per month, or per year? How long must the car last? Who typically drives with you? Will you be car-pooling? Do you need to move a lot of furniture? Depending on how you plan to use the car, you’ll start to narrow down the type of car (or truck!) you’ll need.
Next, you need to figure out what’s important to you. Some people want a car for comfort, or for style, others just want a safe, reliable ride. And some others want to go the eco-friendly way and opt for an electric car or a hybrid. Figure out what’s most important to you, so you’ll know in advance what you might consider, and what’s out of the question.
4 Research Feedback
Once you know what kind of car or truck you’re looking for, you can start getting feedback. If you’re looking for a smaller SUV, you might be considering a Chevy or a Toyota or a Ford. Ask other people you know who have driven these vehicles to give you’re their opinion. Also, visit consumer websites and see what the overall feedback from the public in general has been like. That ought to help you narrow the field of contenders even more.
Now that you have a few vehicles in mind, ask your friends and relatives if they know anyone who is selling one, or if they know a dealership that can help you find a good bargain. Don’t be surprised if a Ford dealership wants to sell you a Toyota, or if a Chevy dealership has a few Hondas.
6 Ask a Mechanic
Once you have a car in mind, ask your mechanic to take a look under the hood. Unless you have years and years of experience repairing and maintaining all kinds of cars, a mechanic’s opinion will give you peace of mind… and hopefully a short list of what it will take to keep your car on the road for years to come!
7 Work on Financing
If you’re not paying for the vehicle outright, you’ll have to finance it. Consider what you’ll have to use for a down payment, then visit your bank to see if they’ll finance you. Most dealerships have financing on-site, but it’s always a good idea to shop around, right?
8 Shop around and Compare
Make sure you shop around and compare prices before you commit to buy. For instance, if you fall in love with a PT Cruiser at one dealership, visit other dealers to see how much they’re selling their PT Cruisers for. Also, it pays to see what the Kelly Blue Book value of a vehicle is, to make sure you’re getting a fair deal. Some dealers will offer free maintenance or an extended warranty to sweeten the deal.
9 Customize It
Once you’ve chosen a vehicle, find out how much the extras will be to make it your own. For instance, if you want customized license plates, that costs extra. So do fancy floor-mats and heated car seats, and remote starts.
10 Rate Your Experience
Once the sale is complete, and you’ve driven away in your dream car, make sure to share feedback with the dealership directly, and with online groups who want to know! Your feedback from your experience might help another potential car buyer!
Once you know the process of buying a new or used car, it’s simple, and doesn’t have to be stressful. Just be sure to give yourself some time to comparison shop, and you’ll be on the road happy as can be! Have you bought a car recently? How smoothly did the process work for you, and do you have any tips to share? Please let me know!