Buying a new car can be an amazing experience. However, this process isn’t always a walk in the park. There are quite a few things that you need to consider, including cost and practicality. Here’s a first-timer’s guide to buying the car of your dreams.
Set a Realistic Budget
Before you even begin shopping for a car, first set a realistic budget. Ideally, your car payments shouldn’t exceed 15 – 20 percent of your total monthly earnings. The last thing you want is to put yourself in a financial hole.
While you always have the option to pay for the vehicle in cash, don’t make the mistake of using your emergency funds. You never know when an unexpected crisis may occur. If you can obtain a low-interest auto loan, financing the vehicle could prove to be a better choice in the long run.
Decide Whether You’re Going to Buy New or Pre-Owned
There’s simply nothing like the smell of a brand-new car. You’ll have access to all the latest features. This is especially true for models that have recently been redesigned.
However, drivers can save a lot of money by opting to buy a pre-owned model. You won’t have to make many compromises. A certified pre-owned vehicle also comes with an extended warranty, which makes it just as rewarding as a new one.
Do Your Homework Ahead of Time
Never show up to the dealership without doing any homework ahead of time. Websites allow you to research vehicles right from home. You’ll be able to check out the entire inventory. Detailed specifications, pricing, and high-resolution photos are available for every model in stock. Site visitors can even get approved for financing by completing a simple online form. This makes the entire affair a lot easier.
Don’t forget to research the vehicle’s total cost of ownership. Many people fail to check the cost of auto insurance, which can vary greatly from one model to the next. You also need to know the vehicle’s estimated fuel economy. The cost of maintenance is another big factor that can affect your budget.
Prepare to Take a Test Drive
When preparing to take a test drive, be sure you don’t have a full schedule. It’s never a good idea to rush through this critical step. Not only will you need time to check out the car’s key features, but you’ll also need to actually take it out on the road.
Remember, many car models allow you to choose from different powertrains. While some drivers desire maximum performance, others desire fuel savings. You must decide what’s more important.
Pick a Trim Level
Most vehicles give you at least three trim levels to pick from. Some of today’s base models are well-equipped. You can get a lot of desirable features for the money.
However, climbing the trim ladder gives you access to a greater number of luxurious features. Among these amenities include a premium audio system, climate-controlled seats, and leather upholstery. Appearance upgrades are available as well.
Take Advantage of Discounts and Incentives
If you want to get more bang for your buck, take advantage of any available discounts and incentives. You could drive home with the deal of a lifetime. Oftentimes, automakers will advertise incentives directly on their website.