Congratulations! You’ve decided to purchase your first car. This is a big step, and can often be an overwhelming process. Below, you will find some tricks and tips to help you navigate researching, deciding on, and purchasing your dream vehicle.
- Establish what you need: This is different from what you want, in that it will be what is essential to your lifestyle. Do you live in an area that experiences a lot of snow and ice? Then you probably need 4-wheel drive. Do you have kids or a large family? You probably need a mini-van or SUV. Do you drive long distances regularly or have a long commute to work? Then you probably need a car that gets good gas millage. By identifying what you absolutely need, you can start to narrow your search.
- Establish what you want: This is different from what you need, in that it may not be absolutely essential, but still important to you. Are you a music lover? Then you probably want a good sound system. Do you talk on the phone a lot? Then you probably want a car with a bluetooth system built in. Do you take a lot of road trips? Then it might be nice to have a navigation system built in.
- Prioritize: Once you’ve determined the difference between what you want and what you need, you can start to prioritize what you’re looking for. If you want a great sound system, maybe you’re willing to compromise on leather interior to lower your price. Go in with a clear idea so that you don’t get sidetracked and end up paying more.
- Research: Before you visit a dealership, it’s important that you have at least a baseline knowledge of what type of car you want, what you can afford, and (if needed) what financing is available to you. The web is a great tool for this step, find cars near you.
- Locate a dealer: Find a dealer in your area that is convenient and you like. You can read reviews online, and check to see what their inventory looks like. Check out EveryAuto’s dealer research page!
- Know your options: You should have a clear idea of what is available to you, both in terms of your actual car, and your financing options. Don’t be afraid to bring examples to back yourself up, and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Additionally, some dealers may not be as well versed in the specificity of the car that you are looking for, and may not always know about all the customizations available to you.
- Be an asset to yourself: Don’t go into the dealership expecting them to educate you. You should already have a clear idea of what type of car you what, what your budget is, and (if needed) what type of financing you would be approved for. Be as proactive as you can about the process; it will save you time and money in the long run.
- Check the cost collision insurance: When is comes to collision insurance, some cars cost more than others and that’s just the nature of the beast. However, you want to make sure you have comprehensive insurance, and you should factor this into your overall budget for the car.
- If you’re buying used, have the car checked by an independent mechanic: This is just common sense. Some people even bring their mechanic with them while they shop, just to expedite the process.
- Enjoy yourself: When all is said and done, if you’ve researched your options and prepared yourself, purchasing a car should be pretty painless, and even enjoyable. Buying your first car is an exciting milestone, and you should have fun with the process!