Buying a vehicle can be very exciting, especially if it is your first car purchase!
The weeks or even months leading up to the event are filled with countless hours of contemplation and hope that you end up choosing the right car.
Auto manufacturers release new models every single year. With the number of choices available today, the experience can be overwhelming and tedious for first-time car buyers.
However, finding the best car out there will be a much easier process once you learn what to keep in mind when making your decision. If you are a first-time car buyer, please continue reading below for DMVGO.com’s ultimate guide to helping you find the car you want.
Establish Your Budget
When buying a vehicle, you need to do the math and figure out how much money you can spend while staying within your means.
Don’t have enough to pay cash up front? Then you may need to secure an auto loan. If you need a loan, there are several auto loan calculators online to estimate your monthly payment.
It is also important to know your credit score, as your credit score determines whether you can receive financing or not.
Determine Your Needs and Wants
Next, we suggest evaluating your options before making up your mind about a specific car.
Consider these questions:
- What type of car suits your needs?
- Do you live in the city and need a compact car?
- Would a bigger vehicle be a better fit for your lifestyle and your family?
It is also important to consider the weather in your area and what type of car would suit you best.
You also need to make another crucial decision about whether to buy a new car or a used one.
While new cars tend to be more expensive, they come with a factory warranty and all the latest safety features. Plus, you do not have to worry about past ownership.
On the other hand, used cars are less expensive, but you will need to look them over carefully before purchasing one. Consider taking the used vehicle to an inspection station or car dealer for a pre-purchase inspection. This relatively small investment could save you from buying a lemon or a used vehicle with severe mechanical issues.
Shop Around and Consider Your Timing
Unless it is an absolute emergency, we recommend taking your time to shop around for a car. The price of a vehicle will depend on its popularity, the dealership’s location, and the time of year you buy a car.
You can potentially score a better deal at certain times of the year, including Thanksgiving and Christmas. Dealers will usually try to clear out old inventory late in the summer and fall as new models come in.
Research Your Car Options
Aside from the price, consider these three important factors when buying a car:
- Cost of ownership.
Once you hone in on your top choices, it is time to research online and read the reviews.
You can visit Kelley Blue Book (KBB.com) or Edmunds for full specifications, safety ratings, and fuel economy information. In addition, almost every car model has a dedicated forum or online community where car owners swap stories or discuss repairs and issues they encounter.
Last but not least, you may also want to determine which interior and exterior colors you prefer most.
Research the Car Dealership
Not all car dealerships are created equal.
Some dealers offer higher levels of service or have better inventory than others. Importantly, you can sometimes check out a dealer’s inventory online before visiting. You may also want to call and confirm whether the specific model you are considering is available.
Next, make sure the dealership will allow you to test drive the vehicle. It will help you evaluate how a car drives and how well it fits you.
You’ll need to get behind the wheel and take some time to gauge your level of comfort before buying the vehicle. While a vehicle can appear perfect on paper, your whole impression of it could change once you’re in the driver’s seat.
Be Mindful of Ongoing Costs
Your car will not run perfectly forever, so you must maintain and service your vehicle regularly to extend its life. Since an Auto Warranty only lasts for a few years, you’ll need to be diligent about maintaining your vehicle after that.
Be sure to also consider the costs of car insurance.
Buying a car is a long-term financial and even emotional commitment, so be sure to keep all of these things in mind before going out and getting your first car!
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