17 million passenger cars and light pickup trucks find new owners every year in the United States.
If you’re looking to purchase a vehicle for the first time, you’re not alone. However, this isn’t going to dampen your excitement in any way. Buying a car, especially your first car, is an exciting event. But you’ll quickly realize that the process isn’t that simple. Because you’ve got a ton of car options to choose from, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
That’s why we are here to help!
To learn how to buy a car the right and easy way, keep on reading.
Know What You Need from a Car
You have probably heard that there is a car for every need. That’s the whole truth!
Whether you’re looking for a car for commuting to work and running errands or a truck that will power your adventures in the mountains, you’ll find what you’re looking for. In fact, you’ll have multiple alternatives for every need you want to fill.
Knowing what you need from a car is key to purchasing a vehicle that will meet your needs. If you need a car for your commute, for instance, you’ll head into the buying process knowing that you need a small convenience car. There could be a temptation to buy a vehicle that wasn’t in your plans, but when you know what you need, it’s easier to stick to the plan.
There are other important factors to consider when you’re trying to find out the car you need. These include your family size, available space in the garage, automotive safety ratings, among others.
If you have a big family, for example, you want to buy a car that can accommodate it, especially if you don’t already have a family car. As such, you’ll likely need a van instead of a small sedan.
What’s Your Budget?
Getting your finances in order is an important step when preparing to buy a car, but it’s one most prospective buyers overlook.
The vast majority of buyers go in for car financing. When you’re getting an auto loan, it’s easy to overlook proper financial planning. Just as long as the lender has told you that you qualify for an auto loan, you’re ready to head to the dealerships and start shopping for a car.
The deal is closed, you drive home with your car. Soon after that, you start feeling the pinch of running the car. Perhaps its fuel consumption is high. Or spare parents are expensive.
Either way, you’ll be in such a situation because you didn’t budget accordingly for the vehicle. Buying a car isn’t just about affording the cash price. It’s also about planning for the costs of ownership.
If you’re looking to get auto financing, start by checking your credit. Most traditional lenders require good credit and proof of income.
But what if your credit is bad? There are steps you can take to build your credit, but if you aren’t keen on that, you can explore bad credit car loans. There are several private companies that are willing to lend to people who have bad credit, typically as long as they can prove they have the ability to repay the loan.
Choose Between a New Car and a Used Car
A big decision you have to make when buying a car is whether to buy a used car or a new car.
Your budget is the key point of consideration here. New cars are pricier, averaging $45,000 in 2021. On the other hand, the average price of a used car is $24,000.
Keep in mind that just because you can afford a new car doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what you should go for. If you’re planning to resale the car a few thousand miles down the road, you might find a used car more attractive. This is because new cars depreciate rapidly, losing as much as 30-40% of their value in the first 3-5 years of ownership.
Used cars don’t depreciate as quickly. In fact, a used car that’s about 5 years old will hold its value very well.
Let Someone Accompany You to the Dealership
You’re ready to head off to a dealership and select the car you need. This can seem a pretty straightforward thing to do, but it’s not.
In a dealership, you’ll find salespeople to help you with the purchase. The problem is these people don’t have your best interests at heart. Theirs is to make sure you leave with a car that makes the dealership as much money as possible. And if you aren’t careful, they’ll achieve their goal.
This is why it’s crucial to let someone, preferably one who’s familiar with the car buying experience, accompany you to the dealership. They’ll help you stick to the plan, ensuring you don’t end up with a car that you didn’t need in the first place.
Still at the dealership, don’t skimp on a test drive even if the car is brand new or used but looks immaculate. Getting a feel of the car helps you make an informed decision, instead of buying a car that won’t give you an awesome ownership experience.
And, don’t fall for unnecessary add-ons. Anything outside of car insurance or an extra warranty (on top of a factory warranty) is unnecessary.
That’s How to Buy a Car the Right Way!
Buying a car is a big move that comes with a heavy financial commitment. You don’t want to increase the burden on yourself by purchasing a car that doesn’t suit your needs. With this guide on how to buy a car, you now know some of the most important things to keep in mind.
Explore our blog for more car shopping tips and ownership advice.