The moment you’ve been dreaming about has arrived. It’s time to buy a new set of wheels! You’re pretty excited to get your new ride, whether it’s a used car or a brand new vehicle. It’s going to be a great day, no matter if this is the first car you’re buying or not. So, though your plans are about to come to fruition, you’re still not quite sure where you want to start. There are a lot of steps involved, after all! Here are a few tips to help you out with your buying a car mission.
Tips for buying a car
1. Do your research.
Okay, so something you might not realize about buying a car is that it involves a lot of research. Be prepared to spend some quality time with your phone or tablet as you consider the year, make, and model of car you want. That’s our first caveat.
To give yourself a place to start, think about what kind of vehicle will best suit your needs. Are you looking for a fuel-efficient vehicle that does well on the highway? (Maybe this vehicle will primarily be for commuting and you want a sedan that gets good mileage.) Or do you need more cargo room and space for transporting the whole family? Maybe a sensible SUV is the way you want to go. Think about what you’re going to need the car to do and what you’ll primarily be using the vehicle for. Or maybe you’ve already got a dream car in mind and it’s finally time to buy it.
Then, of course, you have to consider whether you want to get a new or used car and keep that in mind as you do your online hunting.
Pro tip: From your research, find out if the vehicle you’re considering is reliable – you probably don’t want a finicky car.
Anyways, the point is that there are a lot of cars out there, and once you’ve narrowed down what you’re looking for your job will be a lot easier. (You might want to start a spreadsheet to keep yourself organized when you’re buying a car.)
2. Don’t forget safety ratings.
While you’re doing your research, don’t forget to look into the vehicle’s safety rating. It’ important to make sure that you’ve got a vehicle that’s going to protect you and your passengers in the event of an accident. Make sure that the car you’re considering has done well in safety and crash tests. (Of course, no one wants to think about being involved in an accident, but make sure your car will hold its own in the event of a crash.)
Okay, this is the not-so-fun part of buying a car – the money part. You have to consider how much you’re willing to pay for your new car. How much would you be able to put down on your car? What would a reasonable monthly payment look like? (And don’t forget about the insurance payment, too.) You have to consider those things alongside the overall price of the car, not to mention how long you want to make your loan.
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Speaking of loans, you’ll also have to think about where you want to borrow money from. Do you want to get a loan through the dealership or through your bank? Explore your different options and see which seems best for your situation.
Researching the price of the car you want is a really important step in the whole buying a car process because you’ll be prepared, and you’ll be able to know if you’re getting a fair price for the car. This is a big purchase, so it’s a good idea to know what’s a reasonable price for the vehicle.
4. Test drives.
Once you’ve narrowed down the vehicles you’re interested in, you may want to go to do some test drives. See how the car handles and if you like the way it drives. In driving a few different models, you may find that you prefer one over the other, or that one better suits your needs. (Maybe it has more cargo space or something.) It’s hard to visualize different cars until you’ve actually had the chance to see them in person and take them for a spin.
5. Consider the nitty-gritty.
Once you’ve worked through the research and test drive stage of things, you can move on to thinking about the nitty-gritty details. Find out some of the particulars about the car you’re considering. What features are available? What paint colors can you choose from? Are there different variations of the model you’re considering, like a Sport version? Find out about these details, and if you have any questions, write them down so you can ask when you visit the dealership. Keep in mind that different dealerships have different vehicles that might have different features. Doing your research allows you to ask after the specific things you want when you’re buying a car.
6. Find out about the warranty.
Now, no one wants to think about something going wrong with a car they bought fairly recently, but it’s helpful to be aware of the warranty that your new ride comes with. Again, ask questions. Having all the details is important when it comes to getting a car. What do you need to know about servicing the vehicle? Are there any special deals on getting maintenance done on your new car?
7. Find out what insurance you need.
It’s also essential to have the right coverage for your ride. Each state has its own requirements for car insurance. Georgia, for example, requires that drivers carry $25,000 of bodily injury liability per person, $50,000 of bodily injury liability insurance per occurrence, and $25,000 of property damage liability. Be prepared for the probability that your lender will require you to carry collision coverage and comprehensive coverage as well. Anyways, it’s really important to carry the coverage you need for your new ride. Keep in mind, too, that the dealership may not let you abscond with the car until you can prove that you’ve got insurance to cover it.
Pro tip: Consider gap insurance if you’re buying a car. If you’ve taken out a big loan and you haven’t put much money down, you could end up owing more on your loan than the car is worth because car values depreciate so quickly. And if you’re in that situation and you total your car, that’s a potential problem. Gap insurance, though, is intended to help this very situation by helping you cover the difference in the loan balance and the vehicle’s value.
You might want some help with getting car insurance, and our team would be happy to offer some assistance with that. Get started with your quotes by filling out our online form, giving us a call, or messaging us on LiveChat.