Last weekend I bought a new car. Well it is new to me, but it’s actually a used car. This purchase involved a lot of research and patience. At times I just wanted to throw my hands in the air and buy the first car I found. But I didn’t! I was patient, even though it was difficult, and I ended up finding a great deal. If you are in the market for a new car here are some tips to make your car buying experience successful.
Tips for Buying a Car
1. Decide on a budget.
How much can you comfortably afford to spend on a car? It’s recommended that you not spend more than 20% of your monthly budget on a car. Of course each person’s financial situation is different so 20% may not be reasonable for you and that’s ok. Set a budget that you are comfortable with. If you are wondering how much car you can afford check out this Affordability Calculator from Edmonds.
2. Decide on the type and size of vehicle you want.
Are you looking for a sedan, a sports car, an SUV, maybe a minivan or truck? Deciding on what you want is important. You don’t want to get a car and then realize it’s not big enough for your family.
3. What options are important to you?
What options are essential in a new car and what options would you like to have. It’s a good idea to make a list of Must Haves and Nice to Haves. For me there were a few options that I had to have: air conditioning, cruise control, auto lights (I’m bad for remembering to turn the lights off if they are not automatic), plenty of leg room in the back, roomy trunk space, and a tilt steering wheel. There were some other options that were not necessary but I knew that I would like to have them: leather interior (so much easier to clean), radio controls on the steering wheel, heated seats, keyless entry, and a sun roof.
4. Keep your options open.
When I first started doing my research and shopping for a new car there were a couple of Makes that I did not want to purchase. This was because of cars that I’ve had in the past and had a lot of trouble with. There were a few makes of cars that I was more interested in than others, because of the reliability. Thankfully I kept my options open and looked at similar models from different car manufacturers because the car I ended up purchasing was never even on my radar to begin with. Don’t limit yourself to a certain make or model.
5. Do your research.
I did so much research the past couple of months I felt like I was back in college! Edmunds became my go-to source for car information and reviews. Whenever I would find a car that I liked I would go straight to Edmunds to get information on the car.
6. Shop around.
For the best deal it’s often necessary to shop around. There are tons of car lots in my area but the prices were all SO high. Thanks to the internet, I found a car lot about an hour away where I found a great deal on a car. Be prepared to shop around.
7. Be prepared to walk away.
Know when to walk away from a car deal. If you don’t feel comfortable, walk away. I am turned off by high pressure sales. A couple of the car lots that I went to were “in your face” car salesman. I might have found a good car there but I don’t like high pressure sales so I left. The dealer that I ended up purchasing my car from was not a high pressure salesman at all. He let me look around the lot and when I was ready to talk he was there but was not breathing down my neck the whole time. If a salesman is “shady” and won’t clearly answer your questions, it’s a good idea to walk away. There will always be another car and another car lot where you feel comfortable.