Buying a new car can be an exciting yet overwhelming experience. To make the process smoother and ensure you end up with the right car for your needs and budget, follow these top 10 steps:
Before you start looking at cars, it’s essential to assess your needs. Consider factors like the number of passengers you’ll be carrying, your driving habits, the importance of fuel economy, must-have features, safety requirements, cargo capacity, and space for children’s car seats or towing. Understanding what you truly need will help you narrow down your choices.
Determine your budget and stick to it. As a general rule, your monthly new-car payment should not exceed 15 percent of your monthly take-home pay. For leasing, aim for a payment that’s less than 10 percent of your take-home pay. Don’t forget to factor in additional costs like fuel and insurance.
Consider the pros and cons of leasing and buying. Leasing allows you to drive a more expensive car for less money and enjoy the latest technology every few years. Buying, on the other hand, gives you more flexibility and ownership of the vehicle after the loan is paid off.
While you may have a specific car in mind, it’s worth exploring other comparable vehicles in the same class. Use resources like a Car Finder tool or look at new car reviews to research and compare different options to find the one that best suits your needs.
Some cars may have a lower upfront cost but could end up being more expensive to own in the long run due to factors like depreciation, insurance, maintenance, and fuel costs. Utilize tools to estimate long-term ownership expenses.
Use online dealer inventory tools like our car search link to quickly search for available cars and their options. Consider expanding your search radius if you don’t find what you want locally, and filter results based on your preferences.
Schedule a test drive by contacting the dealership’s internet department. Test-drive multiple cars to get a better sense of how they perform in different situations. Internet salespeople often provide transparent pricing and information, in addition to special offers if you have done your proper research on the MSRP.
During the test drive, evaluate the car’s performance under various driving conditions, including traffic and highway speeds. Assess passenger comfort, cargo space, and ease of car seat installation if needed. Take your time and focus on the driving experience.
After test-driving several cars, take some time to reflect on your options. Sleep on it if needed, and don’t rush the decision. Remember that there might be several suitable choices, and the final decision depends on your personal preferences.
Once you’ve made your decision, it’s time to become a car buyer or lessee. Follow the step-by-step guides, such as “10 Steps to Leasing a New Car,” “8 Steps to Buying a New Car,” or “10 Steps to Buying a Used Car,” to navigate the purchasing or leasing process.
By following these ten steps, you’ll be well-prepared to make an informed and confident decision when buying your new car. Happy car shopping!