If it’s time to put some new wheels in your garage, it can be difficult knowing where to begin. Which is more important, horsepower or gas mileage? What kind of car is safest? How can you be sure you’re getting the best deal when you’re on the lot?
If you’re one of the many buyers who find themselves overwhelmed by choice and possibility, here are five simple tips for finding the right car for you.
1: Make a Budget
Your very first step should be deciding how much you can spend on your new vehicle. Remember that the sticker price isn’t necessarily the final bill; you might be able to trade in your old car to reduce the overall cost, or you might have to take out a loan and face monthly interest rates, in which case you’ll add to it. Play with the numbers and work out a general price bracket for yourself before you go shopping.
2: Know Your Needs
Where will you be taking your car? What kind of terrain do you expect to encounter? If you’re a fan of off-roading or if you’ve just moved somewhere known for its rain and snow, you’ll probably want something with a four-wheel drive. If you know you’ll be starting a family soon, you might want to consider investing in an SUV.
3: Decide On a Make or Model
Never walk onto a car lot without at least a basic idea of what you’d like to take home. Salesmen can sense your indecision a mile away! Get on the Internet and do some research so that you won’t be influenced or bamboozled into making bad choices. A side by side car comparison can help you narrow down your prospects and make a shortlist.
4: Work Within Your Insurance Policy
Different vehicles can affect your premiums in different ways. For example, hybrid cars will often knock off a few dollars for their eco-friendliness, but sleek, expensive vehicles have a bigger risk of being stolen, so they’ll cost more to insure. Whatever you’re in the market for, there’s no use getting attached to a car that isn’t compatible with your insurance.
5: Always Shop Around
Congratulations! You’ve found your dream car! But are you sure you’re getting the best price for it from that website or that dealership? You wouldn’t buy a home without checking out the neighborhood first, so neither should you purchase a car without asking around and seeing if you can find better deals elsewhere.
These are just five things to consider before committing to a new vehicle. A car is an important investment, so don’t let yourself be rushed into a decision: Make lists, take your time and find a model that you can depend on for years to come.