Are you ready to buy a new car? Do you know what steps to take to make it happen?
Before you start shopping for a new vehicle, take a step back to make sure you know what you’re doing. There are certain things you need to consider to make sure you’re finding the best vehicle for the right price. The last thing you want to do is buy a lemon or spend too much money.
We want to help. Keep reading for a quick guide for the steps to buying a new vehicle. We’ll tell you everything you need to know to about the car buying process.
1. Assess Your budget
First, you need to find out how much you can afford to spend on a new car. There’s a lot more to buying a car than simply preparing for your monthly loan payment. You need to understand all the costs involved in buying a new car.
For example, you need to plan for:
- Taxes (at the point of purchase)
- Vehicle registration (yearly)
- Insurance (monthly)
- Maintenance and repairs (yearly)
Don’t over-extend yourself by maxing out your budget. Nearly 63% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Typically, this is because they bite off more than they can chew when financing a car, home, and other purchases.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Loan
Learning how to buy a car means understanding your loan eligibility. We recommend getting pre-approved before you start shopping.
Getting pre-approved will let you know exactly what price range you should be shopping under. It will also give you insight into the loan terms and interest rates for which you qualify. Otherwise, you might get rejected for a loan after already picking out a car and sitting down with the salesman at the dealership.
There are several types of car financing options. Check out this page to find the best interest rate for you.
3. Identify the Best Car for Your Lifestyle
One of the most practical steps to buying a new car is figuring out the right type of vehicle for your needs. Think about your daily driving habits, family, hobbies, and interests.
If you have children (or plan to), you need a vehicle that will support your growing family and guarantee their safety. If you spend a lot of time commuting to work or traveling, you need a vehicle that gets good gas mileage and is comfortable to drive for long periods of time.
Furthermore, consider your hobbies. If you like to spend time outdoors hiking, camping, fishing, or hunting, you’ll need a rugged vehicle with all-wheel drive. You might also think about the vehicle’s towing capabilities if you plan on hauling a camper, trailer, or boat.
4. Decide if You Want to Buy New, Used, or Certified Pre-Owned
Next, think about your options in terms of vehicle age. Do you want to buy brand new or used.
New cars are more expensive but come with the latest technology for comfort, safety, and performance. They are also a clean slate and covered under manufacturer warranties.
Used cars are more affordable but less predictable. You don’t know how the vehicle was driven or maintained.
Alternatively, CPOs offer the best of both worlds. They’re lightly used vehicles that have been refurbished to a like-new condition. As such, they come with renewed warranties and a slightly higher price tag.
5. Find the Right Seller
One of the most important steps to buying a new car is finding the right seller. You have two primary options here. You can buy from a car dealership or find the right car for sale by the owner.
A car dealership is the most secure way to buy a vehicle. They are governed by the city and must uphold a certain standard of professionalism and credibility. However, car dealerships have their own expenses, which means they must sell their vehicles at a markup.
While a private seller might offer a lower price, they present a higher risk. A private seller can say anything they want without consequence. They are more likely to hide damages and fail to disclose any issues.
6. Take the Vehicle on a Test Drive
The best way to buy a new car is by test driving it first. This is one of the most vital steps to buying a new car. You need to ensure that the vehicle you pick for your daily driver is a good fit.
Does the vehicle feel smooth while traveling down the road? Is it quiet, comfortable, and intuitive to operate? Do you notice any discrepancies in the gauges, electrical components, or cosmetics?
Before taking off, do a quick scan of:
- The heating and cooling system
- The electrical components (power windows, seats, radio, etc.)
- The vehicles gauges and mechanical functions
Don’t inspect these issues while you’re driving, as it can lead to an accident. Once you hit the road, pay attention to how the car drives. Are there any weird noises, overheating issues, or warning lights?
7. Verify the Vehicle’s Condition
If you’re buying a used car, we highly recommend getting it checked out by an independent mechanic. If the private seller or dealership won’t allow this to happen, it could be because they’re trying to hide something.
However, you must ensure you’re investing in a vehicle that’s in good condition. Paying a mechanic to inspect your vehicle can save you thousands of dollars, especially if they point out a major flaw in the vehicle that wasn’t disclosed by the seller.
8. Make an Offer
Making an offer is one of the final steps to buying a new car. Regardless of if you’re at a dealership or talking to a private seller, there is always room for negotiation.
Give them a low offer and try to get a better deal on the car. Use any damages or issues you noticed as leverage. You must present your offer in a manner that says “I’m not sold on this vehicle and I am willing to walk away.”
However, don’t make an offer so low that the seller won’t take you seriously. You can also negotiate with dealers to drop some of their other prices or get better financing terms (if you’re using in-house financing).
Are You Ready for the Steps to Buying a New Car?
If you’re thinking about buying a new vehicle in the near future, refer to this list to make sure you get a reliable car for a fair price. Nobody wants to feel high-maintenance, but when it comes to investing in a vehicle, these steps to buying a new car will save you time, money, and frustration.
And if you’re looking for more consumer advice or financing tips, stick around for a while and look through the rest of our blog. We developed our website to serve as a valuable source of information for readers like you.