What to Do When You Buy a Car
Are you planning to buy a car in the near future? If so, there are a lot of things you’ll need to do. For example, you’ll have to decide whether you want a new car or a used car. You’ll have to decide whether you want to purchase or lease. You’ll also have to determine how much you’re willing and able to spend, what features you want, and so much more.
As you can imagine, this process can get a bit overwhelming, but don’t panic. If you slow down and take it step by step, you’ll find it much easier. You’re also more likely to end up with a car that’s just right for you.
Figure Out Your Finances First
A car is a major purchase. Most people will not be able to just buy a vehicle outright. If you can’t, then you’ll need to figure out how much you can afford to spend. Look at your current income, as well as your bills and expenses, and decide how much you can pay for a car overall, as well as monthly. Knowing this information can help you to avoid entering into a deal that won’t ultimately work for you.
Armed with this info, you can start looking at both cars and financing options. Some companies will even allow you to pre-qualify for a car loan first and then shop specifically for vehicles that match your needs and options. This can be one of the smartest ways to shop and often leads to a much better deal than just financing through the dealership and the choices they have available.
Keep Passenger Capacity in Mind
After your finances are in order, you can think about what you really want and need from a vehicle. One of the most important features to consider is seating capacity. Ask yourself how many people you are likely to carry on a regular basis. If you have a large family, for example, you’ll likely need a higher seating capacity than someone without children. Keep in mind that it’s usually better to go with slightly more seating capacity than you really need. That way, when you want to bring an extra friend along or get asked to do carpool duty, you and your vehicle will be equipped.
Don’t Say Yes to Every Add-On
If you’re buying a new car, you’ll probably be offered a lot of add-ons or extras, each of which will come with an increased cost. Common add-ons include:
- Extended warranties
- Various protection plans
- Gap insurance
- Comfort features
- Safety features
Some of these extras may very well be worthwhile. However, some of them are not really necessary and just cost you more money. Others you can get later on, often at a lower price, if you desire.
Thus, be very selective about which add-ons, if any, you actually say “yes” to. When possible, know what you want ahead of time and then stand firm against any additional offers.
Reflect on Road Conditions
The most common road and weather conditions where you live, as well as the weather, should most definitely influence the vehicle that you purchase. For example, someone who lives in a snowy or mountainous climate would likely need a different car and different features from someone who lives somewhere sunny and flat. From heated seats to snow tires and rear wheel drive, do take road conditions into account.
Aim for Fuel Efficiency
No one wants to get stuck with a car that’s a gas guzzler. So, research the fuel efficiency of any vehicle you are seriously considering. Of course, keep in mind that some vehicles, such as SUVs, may naturally require more gas than others. However, you can still seek to find the best fuel efficiency for the specific type of vehicle you need. This simple step, if done well, can end up saving you quite a bit of money over the years.
Always Take a Test Drive
There is never a substitute for actually driving a car yourself and seeing how it handles. Make sure you test drive any vehicle you are seriously thinking about purchasing. If you’re buying online, find a dealership with the same car and take a test drive.
During your test drive, pay attention to what you like about the car, what you find difficult, and how comfortable you feel driving it. Understand that some features will just take some getting used to. But, take into account your test drive as you narrow your choices and make your final purchase.
Look to the Future
If you’re like most people, you want a car that will last you for the long haul. Thus, take a moment to think about not just how well a vehicle suits you now, but in the future as well. Do you plan to have more children? Maybe you’ll be moving to an area with a different climate. Or, perhaps you’ll have less or more money in the coming years. Whatever the case may be, try to take the future and your possible future needs into account as you shop.
Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate
Remember that car prices are very rarely set in stone. If you’re brave and willing to speak up, you can often negotiate a better deal with your seller. Hopefully, you’ll be using a tool or service that helps you to find the best rates anyway. But, even when you’ve already been offered a great rate, you can still ask questions and push your preferences to try and get the best deal possible.
Compare Like Crazy
In addition to negotiating, compare, compare, and compare some more! Never just pounce on the first deal you find, no matter how awesome it is. Take the time to look at other cars from other sellers, their prices, their features, and how willing the seller is to negotiate. Making it clear that you are aware of and looking into other possibilities can even make some sellers more willing to come down in price. Thus, spend some time exploring your options for best results.
Don’t Be Too Needy
As a final tip, when possible, try and buy a car before you really need one. Once your old car starts showing its age or developing problems, for example, you may want to start shopping. Sellers can often sense your need and desperation when you’re in a situation where you need a car. This often means higher prices on their part and an increased possibility of settling on yours. As such, when you can help it, never let a situation get too desperate.
Buying a car is never an easy process, but it can definitely be made easier and more beneficial. All you have to do is follow these simple tips and take your time throughout the process. Do that, and you should be in a new car and happy with your purchase before you know it. Happy car hunting!