Millions of people have fallen in love with that “new car smell” over the past few decades. They enjoy pursuing the latest and greatest in automotive technology and driving home models that came out this year. Unfortunately, many people fail to properly research their new cars and become dissatisfied with their mode of transportation after only a few months. With car-buying being the second most expensive thing Americans do, second to home purchases, it is wise to go into this decision with as much knowledge as possible. Included here are a few things you need to know before you buy your next vehicle.
Know Your Budget
If there is anything the debt situation in America has taught us, it is that most people do not know how to live within their means. When buying a car, your entire monthly vehicle expense should equal less than 20% of your budget. This includes car payment, insurance, maintenance and gas. Never enter into negotiations on a new car before you know exactly where your numbers are as far as budget and affordability.
Decide Between New and Used
While the debate between buying cars new or used has long been fought out, used cars have been holding the win in recent years. Unfortunately, the increase in used car popularity has resulted in more expensive used cars, and less expensive new cars. You will likely be able to afford more car if you buy used, but new cars will have better options for warranties, maintenance and roadside assistance.
Find Your Make and Model
Before heading off to the dealer, you should make a decision about which car you genuinely need and want. Being firm on this decision can help save you time hassling with a dealer over “similar” models and cut down on the chase for your dream vehicle. You also may be able to eliminate visits to certain dealers who don’t carry the auto you desire. An example of a make is Ford and the model could be a Mustang or Explorer, etc.
When deciding on make and model, it is critical to understand the vehicle’s purpose. Are you commuting and carpooling? Roadtripping? Camping? After you know what you want to use the car for, find a make that is reliable and inexpensive. Many people have their preferred make of vehicle for their entire lives while others flit between brands.
The model of car you choose is completely dependent upon your needs. Many manufacturers will create two cars that are extremely similar but fulfill slightly different requirements. An example would be Toyota Camrys and Corollas. The Corolla is a sportier version of the Camry, slightly more compact, and is not as luxurious as the Camry even though both models are 4-door sedans.