Buying a car can be both exciting and stressful. It’s exciting because you’re getting a new car (or new to you). But it’s stressful because you feel pressure to make the right choice, you have to watch your budget, and if you go to the wrong dealership, you have to deal with pushy sales people.
Doing a little research and planning before you start shopping can make the whole process a little easier. Here are a few things you can do:
Understand Your Insurance Options
Don’t wait until you purchase your car to look into vehicle insurance. You don’t want to have a nasty surprise with high premiums after you have already signed the purchase agreement and fallen in love with your new car.
Once you have a few ideas of the type of vehicles you might like, go ahead and start calling insurance providers to compare rates. Make sure that you are comparing the same policies for each quote.
Start with your current insurance provider when you compare quotes. You are likely to get a better rate as a current and maybe long-time customer.
You can also do some research into what the safest vehicles are. If you purchase a car that has received high safety marks, you’ll get a better rate for your insurance, which will bring down your overall cost of ownership.
Research Maintenance Costs
Maintenance costs will be the next highest expense of car ownership.
A quality vehicle shouldn’t need more than basic oil changes, filter changes, and tire adjustments to stay in top shape. Unfortunately, some vehicles turn out to be lemons that need repair after repair as a result of poor quality parts and craftsmanship.
The best way to know what to expect for a particular vehicle is to do your research. Read reviews from industry experts and customers alike. Read the results of test drives, quality testing, and safety testing.
You’ll quickly learn if the vehicle has particular problems or if the brand has a history of issues. However, there will never be any guarantee that you are buying a vehicle with no problems. The best thing you can do is invest in the warranty to protect yourself against any issues.
Get the Right Monthly Payments
Unless you’ve been saving for awhile, you will need to make monthly payments for your new vehicle. Before you start shopping, make a clear budget and determine exactly how much you can afford to spend. Make a range in case you can’t meet your exact goal, but be sure to identify an upper limit that you cannot go over.
Though you may identify how much you want to spend, that doesn’t mean that you’ll get approved for that amount. Even small changes in the interest rate can have a big impact on how much you pay each month.
So there are no surprises, you should get some pre-qualification offers for your car loan, just like you would for a home loan. You can get these offers at the dealerships, or you can shop at banks to compare rates. Just keep in mind that these inquiries can land on your credit and negatively impact your score, so you should keep them to only a few.
Get Your Trade In Ready
Trading in your current car is a great way to bring down the cost of your new car.
To get the best offer on your trade in, you should get your car ready. Have it detailed inside and out so that it looks its very best. Simply cleaning up the car can significantly improve its value.
Weigh whether you need to make any repairs. Some repairs can significantly increase the value without costing you much. You just need to consider what the return will be compared to what you spend. Obviously, if the return doesn’t outweigh the expense, you should skip it.
Get together any accessories you have for the car also, such as extra keys or fobs, the manual, a spare that came with it, the tire iron, and so on. The more of these items that are included, the better the price you will get for the vehicle.
Buying a car does not have to be a stressful or overwhelming process. You should be able to enjoy the excitement of finding and falling in love with your new car. Use these guidelines, and you’ll be able to find a great car that fits your budget and the entire process will go much more smoothly.