Your car is clearly one of the biggest investments you will make. Not only will your vehicle cost you a fair amount of money, but it will be transporting your friends, family and even pets; it’s important to choose wisely. Rather than simply buying a car because you like the way that it looks, industry experts recommend that you put a great deal of thought into the vehicle that you choose. Here are five tips for choosing your next car the right way:
1.Know What You Need
The first step in picking out the right car is to decide what you’ll need. While you may dream of zipping around town in a SmartCar, you may need something just a bit larger. Will you need several rows of seats to hold your kids and their friends? Will you be better served by an SUV or a pickup truck for the items that you frequently haul? Even if you’re single and won’t have many passengers, you may require a large trunk for shopping trips. By deciding what you’ll need your car for and how you’ll be using it, you’ll be able to narrow down your choice of options quickly.
While a new car is always nice, it may not be the best option if you’re on a tight budget. Many people don’t realize that buying a used car, just one or two model years old, can save thousands of dollars. Once you’ve decided on the basic type and style of your car, decide how much money you would like to spend. Remember that the higher down payment you can afford, the cheaper your monthly payments will be. If you can’t afford a high down payment, a used car may be your best option if you are trying to stick to a budget.
Once you’ve decided on the type of car that you need, start researching different makes and models. Look for features that are included in the vehicles within your price point. You should also read about safety ratings, drivers’ experiences and any reviews that are available for the vehicles that you are comparing. While you may think that you’re a Ford person, a similar model Chevy vehicle may be better suited to your needs and budget. Don’t draw a line in the sand when it comes to the manufacturer of your vehicle; many manufacturers purchase parts from the same companies.
4.Dealer or Private Seller
When you’ve decide on a model or two that you’d like to look at, you need to decide if you want to buy your car from a dealer or a private seller. There are benefits and disadvantages to both. By purchasing your car from a dealer, you can often negotiate the finer points of car ownership into the deal. If you purchase from a private seller, you will have first-hand information on how the car has been used, how it runs and any issues that the owner has had to deal with.
Speaking of negotiating: Don’t be afraid to haggle. Remember that car salesmen are trained in the art of getting your money. Never tell a dealer if you’d prefer to finance or lease your vehicle; always negotiate the price of the car before you decide how you’ll pay for it. Once you decide to make the purchase, be sure that you’re getting the best deal possible. Car salesmen prey on the uninformed; arm yourself with information before you step foot on the lot. You may want to ask the salesman to throw routine maintenance into the deal, have the interior of the vehicle protected if you have kids or pets, or even upgrade your vehicle’s package for less money. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want; the worst answer that you’ll get is “no.”
Don’t walk into the car buying experience blind. By conducting the proper amount of research before you buy your next car, you can be sure that you’ll be purchasing a safe car that meets your needs. Keep in mind that you’ll be paying for your vehicle for a minimum of two years; choosing correctly can save you a great deal of frustration.
Editor’s Note: Violet Turner is a freelance writer for business directories and suggests using a vehicle directory when ready to purchase your next car.