Car buyers have a big event once in their lives, whether you’re a teen who’s been saving up for years or an adult who is finally ready to take on a monthly payment. It’s not something to enter into lightly; there’s a lot to think about, from the amount of the car payment to insurance to maintenance and, of course, safety. Not only that, there are a ton of different ways to get a car, from going to a lot to buying one from a previous owner.
The key is to sit down beforehand and think about your needs as a car owner, how you’ll rearrange your budget to make sure you can afford it, and what your transportation needs will be. Will you only be driving it to work and back? Will you need to commute many miles back and forth every day? Once you’ve answered all the questions, it’s time to look for the right car for you.
Here are some of the best tips for what to look for when buying your first car.
Take a Look at your Budget: Your first concern for car buyers is money, whether you’re paying cash for the car, or if you’ve saved up enough for a down payment and need to finance the rest. Even if you buy the car outright, you’ll still need to have some money on hand for insurance ⸺ which can be pricey depending on what state you live in, your age, and the make and model of the car, as well as gas and any maintenance or upgrades.
If you’ll be financing, it’s important to take a look at your monthly expenses, add them all up, and make sure that what’s leftover will be adequate for your car payment, insurance, and gas. Don’t forget to factor in any maintenance costs.
Think About Your Current Needs
It’s important for car buyers to invest in a car that fits your current needs, not one that might be good to have in the future. For instance, that enormous pickup truck might come in handy the next time you need to help your friend move his band’s equipment, but it’s going to be much more expensive in the long run than just buying a car.
Do Some Research
Buying a car takes some prep work. Doing a little research now on the best cars for safety features, which ones give the best gas mileage, and which car will run the longest with minimal maintenance will save you a lot of grief later on.
Any car that you’re interested in should be test driven before you make a decision. Test drives tell you how comfortable you’ll be with the car, how easy it will be to drive, and how safe and accessible it is. Getting familiar with the accessories will help you the first few times you drive it if you decide to buy.
Have it Checked Out
If you’re buying a used car, have it checked by a mechanic before you hand over the money. If the owner really wants to sell it, he won’t have any qualms about allowing you to have it looked over. This is the best way to make sure you won’t have engine trouble two days after you get it home.