Are you finally able to buy your first car? Do you know what to look for?
Everybody dreams of driving the perfect car, but the truth is that the “perfect car” is no one-size-fits-all. You may prefer function over style or want the extra techy stuff. A car buying checklist is handy to ensure you have everything you need.
Studies show that 40% of people regret buying their car. The last thing you want is to splurge on a new car and end up hating it. So, what do you need to get the right car for you?
Here’s our guide to buying a vehicle.
1. Understand Your Needs
The “perfect car” will rely on your personality and what you want from a vehicle. Some of us enjoy using our vehicles to convey a specific message. People look for cars that will make them look cooler, richer, or even conscious of the environment.
You may enjoy taking spirited drives on the weekends. You may even want more horsepower and a loud engine.
What kind of driving do you engage in? Is it on or off-road or on the highway? Do you have a lengthy commute?
Consider leather seats, Apple CarPlay, a backup camera, etc. It also helps to determine if you need an all-wheel drive. You also want to consider security aspects like lane departure warnings and blind-spot monitoring.
Do you have enough parking space for a big car, and how much storage do you need? Understanding your needs is vital in finding the perfect vehicle for you. Ask yourself what tasks you expect your car to do for you and choose cars around that.
2. Have a Budget
You’ll need to consider financing your purchase unless you’re paying the full cost upfront. How much can you afford to set aside each month for a car payment?
Your new car payment shouldn’t be more than 15% of your monthly payments. Of course, the cost of a used car will be lower, but the same principle should still hold. If you’re seeking to lease, keep your monthly payment to less than 10% of your gross income.
To account for fuel and insurance expenditures, you must add an extra 7% to your monthly income. Your next car or truck purchase will go smoother if you have the proper preparation with your budget.
3. Do Intensive Research
Do you have a particular car in mind? A lot of shoppers do.
New vehicles are always entering dealerships. This means one that you’ve never even thought about could be ideal for you.
Doing research helps you locate the one that best suits your needs. It is essential to set a budget first because it helps narrow down the car choices you have to research.
Even if you already have a car in mind, you should compare it to others in the same class. This helps to make sure you haven’t missed a better option.
Once you’ve decided, look up details on cost, features, and specifications. You can then compare the characteristics and specifications of the vehicles you selected.
4. Test-Drive Your Prospective Car
Already identified a vehicle that appears to be a good fit for you? Book a test drive before sealing the deal. Internet sales representatives from dealerships are excellent partners since they cater to customers.
They also tend to be more forthright with a price. By scheduling a test drive, you can guarantee that the car will be there for you when you arrive. To avoid limiting your choices, we recommend test-driving about three different automobiles.
Try to book a few appointments close together so that you may compare the vehicles more. After a test drive, the salesperson will likely want to discuss figures, but you might not be ready.
Although a car may appear to have all the desired characteristics, the real test is behind the wheel. Driving the car on a test drive should be like how you would in real life. If you commute, try driving the automobile in stop-and-go traffic and at freeway speeds.
If you hike to the mountains, look to see if there are any nearby challenging hills to climb. Drive around bumps, make sharp turns, and test the brakes in a secure area. Try getting in and out of the car many times and sitting in the back seat.
Examine the cargo area. Bring your child’s car seat along if you intend to use one so you can check the fit and simplicity of installation.
Be focused on your evaluation of the vehicle. Take your time and be careful in reviewing everything.
5. Always Present a Counteroffer
Inform the salesperson that you compared prices for comparable models. Request the dealership’s best price after that. Make an opening offer at least $1,000 less than the genuine market value price if they won’t specify a price.
Consider increasing your price by $250 if your initial proposal gets rejected. You can do this until you reach an agreement or true market value pricing.
6. Always Read the Fine Print
Verify the contract for any addenda that you didn’t request. Verify if the figures correspond to your own estimates and what you agreed to in the sales office.
7. Get Car Insurance
Car insurance is one of the best ways to protect your investment. You can receive two significant advantages from automobile insurance coverage. This includes financial and liability protection.
Insurance makes sure that in an accident, your hard-earned money gets returned. This also includes events where someone gets hurt and requires medical attention.
Are you interested in getting an extended car warranty? Then check out this article from Auto Media.
Checkout Another Helpful Car Buying Checklist
Buying a car is more challenging than most people think. You want a car that fits your lifestyle but doesn’t sacrifice your preferences. If you’re in the market for a new car, use this car buying checklist to ensure you get one you won’t regret.
Want to learn more about the latest car models and features? Check out our other blog posts.