1. Write Down Needs and Wants
Before you step foot on a car lot or begin searching in ads, it’s important to determine what you want out of a car. Write down what you need and then what you want so it’s clear what to look for when you begin your search. By writing everything out, you’re less likely to turn wants into needs. This can prevent you from buying something outside of your budget and that will accommodate you better in everyday life.
2. Set a Maximum Budget
This is something you can research online so you know what to expect when you start shopping. Make sure to price out vehicles with the features you want and in the condition you’d like. By knowing the pricing between new and used, you can better identify what will fit within your budget. A good rule of thumb is to set a maximum that you’re comfortable with before you start shopping.
3. Research Recalls
Before you make a final decision on a vehicle, make sure you research the make and model online. Learn about any recent recalls identifying any potential problems you’ll have in the future. If a car has many recalls, you may want to choose something that will be less problematic.
4. Think About Space
Is there a lot of room in the trunk for groceries? Do you need extra seats for friends and family who always visit? These are questions to ask yourself before buying a car of any size. If you don’t have adequate space, it’s very likely you’ll end up frustrated with your decision. Find something that has the number of seats you want as well as the trunk and floor space you need.
5. Take a Drive Before Paying
Always test drive a car before you buy, even if it’s through a private seller. Being behind the wheel gives you a better idea of how the car drives overall. If there are any issues, such as squeaky brakes, bring these up in negotiation.
6. Consider Gas Mileage
Gas prices are on the rise, so gas mileage is something to think about. If you want something that’s easier on the wallet, you may want to consider a hybrid or electric car. However, since the prices of these can be higher, you’ll have to weigh your choices.
Are You Ready to Invest?
Buying a car is a big decision, so take your time. Research your options, determine what features you want, and always make safety a priority. While mechanic work is a necessary part of ownership, a quality car can help you avoid unnecessary visits.