Purchasing a new vehicle is a thrill, but it’s easy to get caught in a bad situation that can cause headaches if you aren’t careful. Buying a car is one of the most important purchases you’ll make in your life, and not being thorough can cost you money while also causing stress. Before making that car, truck or SUV purchase, consider these 10 tips. Not only will these steps save you money, but they’ll help protect you and your purchase!
1. Figure Out Your Finances
Before looking for a car, have a budget in mind. Figure out what you can afford and stick to it. It’s easy to get carried away and buy something that will end up being a financial strain, especially when you don’t have a set budget.
2. Factor in Fuel Costs
Will you be driving on the highway? On side roads? In the city? The country? To and from work? For recreation? Figure out where and how much you’ll be driving, as well as your gas mileage, to see what your fuel costs will be.
3. Get Your Credit Score
Your credit history helps interest rates, loan amounts, and loan length. Get all of your credit information to negotiate the best possible deal with your dealer.
4. Do Research
Go online and look up the make, model, and year of your desired vehicle and get reviews from customers and experts as well as its recall history.
5. Research Amenities
What kind of engine do you want? Do you want satellite radio? What about cruise control, air conditioning, and AM automatic transmission? Figure out which extras you need and which ones you can forgo.
6. Beware of Hidden Fees
The price might look like it’s right in your budget, but there’s more to it. From taxes, extras, and handling fees, there are quite a few costs that can drive up your monthly payments if you aren’t careful.
7. Get All Maintenance Reports
Along with the research on your vehicle’s make and model, get reports on your specific car. Get the VIN number, documentation of owner history, repairs, maintenance, and test reports. Scour them thoroughly.
8. Inspect the Vehicle
You know about the model and your car’s history; now it’s time to inspect the car yourself. If you aren’t an expert, get a knowledgeable friend or have a mechanic at the dealership help you. Ask questions!
9. Take a Comprehensive Test Drive
A vehicle might look great in the showroom, but you shouldn’t sign anything before a test drive. Don’t settle for a drive around the block–drive in traffic, on the highway, and other high-stress situations.
10. Read Everything
Leave no stone unturned, from your car’s maintenance reports to your warranty to payment terms to any fine print in the agreement. Make sure you are covered and not vulnerable to fraud.
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