Purchasing your very first vehicle can be exciting, however, that excitement can quickly turn to confusion if you’re not prepared ahead of time. Confusion and uncertainty when shopping for a new vehicle can lead to poor, uninformed decisions, that ultimately end up costing you money. Avoid that confusion and uncertainty by reading this list of top tips for first-time car buyers before you hit the lot!
Once you read through this fantastic list of tips, come on down to Sign & Drive Auto Group to use your new knowledge to shop for your new vehicle.
First-Time Car Buying Tips
Figure Out Your Budget
As with most things in the world, setting a budget is one of the most important things to do first before you make any other decisions. Defining your budget makes it easier to narrow down what vehicles you can afford, preventing you from falling into the trap of stretching too far for a vehicle you can’t afford.
Before you settle on a budget for a new car, make sure to evaluate your monthly living expenses and determine from there what you can afford monthly for a vehicle. Remember to include estimates for car insurance, fuel, and vehicle maintenance in this budget, because owning a vehicle is a lot more than a monthly payment.
List Your Needs
Now, this may seem like the first thing to do when you’re ready to buy a new car, but without a budget in mind, many “wants” become “needs”, skyrocketing the cost of the vehicle. Define your vehicle needs by taking into consideration your occupation, daily commute, and even things like the weather around where you live.
All of these factors not only determine what kind of vehicle you will need but also influence just how much maintenance the vehicle will need as well. Living in a snowy climate may mean you need a set of winter and summer tires, whereas living in a hot, dry climate means you’ll need to pay more attention to your fluids, hoses, and belts.
After you define your needs and budget, it’s time to find dealers that carry vehicles you may want. Make your choice easier by picking from the gigantic selection of pre-owned vehicles available here at Sign & Drive Auto Group, located in Charlotte, NC.
Now that you have a solid idea of what your needs are and a clear budget in mind, it’s time to start researching what vehicles are available to you. Hop online and check out sites like Cars.com, KBB.com, or Autotrader.com to get a listing of all the pre-owned vehicles in your area, with filters for makes, models, and features. The best option is to visit the website of local dealerships, like Sign & Drive Auto Group, so you can see the most up-to-date inventory information. During your research, be sure to check out consumer reviews and reports about the vehicle you have in mind. While everyone’s experiences and reviews are different, it is a great idea to at least see if there are any common experiences or trends shared amongst owners of the vehicle you like. Finding a pre-owned vehicle and having a wealth of information about that vehicle has never been easier, so take advantage of it when searching for your next vehicle.
Time for a Test Drive
After you decide on the perfect pre-owned vehicle for you, get out there and take one for a test drive! Test driving a vehicle is one of the most important steps in a purchase, as it really gives you a taste of what owning that particular vehicle is like. While you’re test driving, make sure to get comfortable as if it was your vehicle, and drive a route similar to your daily commute for the best comparison.
When you’re making a big purchase like this, it’s important to make sure the vehicle “fits” all aspects of your lifestyle. Certain dealerships may even allow you to drive the vehicle home for a short period of time, so you can see how it fits in your garage or parking space. Make choosing the perfect vehicle easier, test drive as many vehicles as you can before you decide on one.
Figure Out Financing
Financing a vehicle tends to be when first-time car buyers get confused, as it can be a detail-heavy process. As a first-time car buyer, it’s important to not get flustered, just ask questions when you’re confused and remember the finance professional is there to help you. Keep in mind that you’re simply agreeing upon how much money you’re borrowing, and how quickly you’ll be paying it back, including interest. If you keep this in mind, financing is a lot less confusing as a first-time car buyer.
Drive Home Happy
The most important step in buying a car for the first time is to make sure you drive home happy. After all of your online research and in-person test drives, you should feel comfortable signing on the dotted line, knowing that not only are you getting the best deal but also the perfect vehicle for you. Unlike most purchases, you can’t return a vehicle, so ensuring that you love the vehicle before you sign is highly recommended.