Shopping for your first car, can be lots of fun. It can also be frustrating to find one that fits both the needs and the budget, especially if you are a recent college grad.
“I’ve been pricing and looking around for used vehicles, because I can’t afford to buy new,” says a 21 year old, who has already been to a number of dealerships.
“I just need something to get around, since the city is widespread.”
A little leg work and due diligence will alleviate the stress of shopping for your first set of wheels, and ensure you’ve covered all the bases before signing on the dotted line.
What to look for
Assessing need over desire is an important factor in determining the vehicle that’s right for you.
Questions to ask yourself while shopping should include: Do you plan to drive in the city only or will you be driving long distances? Are you carrying passengers regularly or plan to drive mostly solo?
With rising gas prices, look for vehicles that are economical in fuel consumption.
Buying used over new costs less, but you need to be comfortable with buying a car someone’s previously driven.
Do your research
You can verify the condition and history of a used car by getting a vehicle history report online with the vehicle identification number (VIN), which is listed on the car’s ownership papers.
That will give you information such as previous owners, average mileage, servicing records, past accidents, whether airbags were ever deployed, if it has suffered frame damage.
Be sure to keep insurance in mind when you’re shopping for your vehicle. There are many details that insurance companies take into consideration when deciding your rate.
For instance, a sports car will be more expensive to insure than a four-door sedan. The number of miles on the engine, year of the model, and city you live in since it all comes into play when getting the car insured.
Take the time to compare quotes by calling at least three insurance companies, or use online comparison sites to get the best price.
How to finance
Whether you choose to buy new or used, how you’re going to finance the purchase is crucial.
There are two options when using credit to pay for the vehicle. You can either get financing through the dealership, or go directly to your bank and apply for an auto loan.
It’s your choice in the end where you want to get a loan, but the manufacturer can offer attractive loans at low percentages based on new car promotions.
If you do have good credit, buying new can present a variety of benefits, including zero per cent financing promotions for a determined number of months, as well as a manufacturer’s warranty.
Typically new car interest rates are lower than used, but in the end the vehicle is more expensive overall.
If buying new
-Assess your monthly budget to gage your price range.
-Check the dealership for promotions.
-Research vehicles for the features you need.
-Compare financing and loan options.
-Investigate insurance based on vehicle desired.
-Only take feature upgrades if they are right for you.
If buying used
-Verify the vehicle history report using the vehicle identification number (VIN).
-Make sure it will pass certification.
-If buying “as-is” get it looked over and appraised by a certified mechanic.
-Get insurance quotes based on year of car and miles on the engine.