Whether you’re buying your first car or you’re just upgrading your vehicle, it’s likely that you’re a little overwhelmed with all of the options, financing questions, and logistics that go into the car buying process. Buying a car is a pretty big investment, so it’s best to be thorough in your research and decision process if you want to end up driving off the lot in a car you truly love! We’ve got 5 tips for buying a car to help you purchase a car with confidence!
1) Think About Practicality (first)
For most individuals in the market for a new vehicle, practicality is key! You want a car that’s safe and stylish, absolutely. But there are some other convenience features and functionalities you should pay attention to, too. Here are some of the top car features you should check out before buying the car of your dreams:
- Safety features
- Media and entertainment connection
- Fuel economy (mpg)
- Easy to clean car interior
- Ample passenger space
- Cargo space
- Hybrid or fully electric capabilities
- All-wheel drive
Just because you’re focusing on finding a practical vehicle doesn’t mean you have to choose a car that’s drab. Life is about balance!
2) Compare, compare, compare
There are plenty of options to consider when you’re buying a new or used car. From different vehicles to customized interiors and leasing specials, your pros and cons list will probably be pretty lengthy. Check what the deals and inventories in your area look like so that you can make the most informed decision possible.
3) See for Yourself
Kelley Blue Book is a great resource to get resale information on the vehicle you’re looking at— but in order to see if the investment truly makes sense for you, it’s best to take a look for yourself. If you can find a local dealer that sells the vehicle you’re interested in, go ahead and ask for a test-drive! This way, you can see if the vehicle you desire really lives up to your standards and suits your family or individual lifestyle.
4) Reflect on Your Needs
It’s easy to get distracted by all of the shiny new cars in the lot and subscribe to the fancy new car advertisements on TV. But when you’re in the market for a new vehicle, you’ll want to set all of that stuff aside to focus on what you need as a vehicle owner. There’s no one-size-fits-all car for every lifestyle. So when you’re shopping for a new car, think about your own lifestyle before making any big buying decisions. Do you commute far? Maybe a hybrid car would alleviate some of the costs of gas and make the most sense for you. Or perhaps you’ve got a family of five—an SUV or a minivan may be a better fit for your crew.
5) Get the Best Deal on the Market
Don’t be afraid to negotiate with the sales representative at your local dealership. Be firm (but reasonable) in your negotiations and you could end up with a rare deal on the car you love! Even if you do get a great deal on a new car, you will still probably need a little help to finance your new vehicle. When looking for a car loan, the best deals generally come locally from credit unions, so search for lenders in your area to find the best rates on the market. For example, if you live in Texas you may want to search for car loan rates in TX, whereas residents in New Hampshire would want to look for NH credit union car loan rates. Depending on your credit score and financial status, your rates might vary when applying for a car loan— so work on establishing good credit before you start shopping!
Don’t expect to make a decision immediately when you arrive at your local car dealership—car buying can be a bit of a process. If you take the time to do your due diligence to spend some time comparing deals, financing options, and exploring different vehicle makes and models, you’re more likely to end up getting a better deal. With the help of this car-buying guide and a dose of your best judgment, you’ll certainly make an investment that will satisfy you in the long term.