Buying your first car can be a daunting experience. However, with a bit of research and planning, you can make the process a whole lot easier.
In this article, we will discuss some of the things you need to keep in mind when purchasing your first car.
Steps To Buying Your First Car
Buying one’s first car is an exciting and overwhelming experience. You probably obtained your driver’s license not long ago, so you are ready to take your newfound freedom to the next level. Owning a car is a privilege, but it certainly adds to your responsibilities.
If you have been an automobile enthusiast since childhood, you may know exactly what you want in a car; however, your wants and expectations might not exactly be practical.
If you have little to no knowledge about cars, you are going to have a hard time making up your mind. It is a good call to take advice from elders who possess adequate expertise in this department.
The following guidelines can help you pick out a first car that is easy to manage:
Understand Your Needs
How are you going to put your first car to use? Do you need it for daily commute to work/school, running day-to-day errands, and/or occasional recreation? Is the car for your personal use only, or will your folks borrow it often? Are kids going to be regular passengers? Will the car be used to carry heavy goods most of the time?
You also need to consider the average distance you plan to travel per day, the road conditions, as well as the climate of your region. Buy a car that suits your lifestyle and transportation requirements rather than going for face value.
Figure Out Your Finances
The next most important step is to understand what you can afford. Your first car should be economical so that it doesn’t disrupt your budget. You may have enough capital to cover the initial costs, but that doesn’t necessarily suffice.
If you are leasing the car, do not forget about the monthly payments you are supposed to submit. Aside from that, you have to make up for several miscellaneous costs, such as maintenance, repairs, fuel, insurance, etc.
Amateur drivers are increasingly prone to auto accident injuries, so you should never think about skipping insurance. If you are planning on getting an auto loan, make sure your credit score is good enough to attain a reasonable interest rate.
Decide between Brand New and Second Hand
Used cars are usually the better option for beginners, as they are already broken into. You can get an old car for cheap, so you don’t need to take out a loan or break the bank.
Second-hand cars are great for building one’s driving skills and making mistakes to learn from. On the other hand, new cars have that luster and shine that turns heads. Maintenance costs for unused cars are negligible in the first year or two.
They are fitted with the latest technology, are more fuel efficient, highly customizable, and come with advanced safety features. However, the initial costs are high, and repairs/replacements can cost a small fortune in the event of a crash or collision.
Take your time to explore
Enthusiasm is good; though, try not to rush the decision regarding the purchase of your first car. It is easy to get impatient, but taking your time to explore different options is wise. You may look at several new and old cars before narrowing down your list.
Weigh the pros and cons of your leading options, and take them all for a test drive. The hands-on experience will allow you to discover the feel of each car and compare them on a profound level.
Do your Homework & Negotiate like a Pro
You should conduct thorough research on the cars you shortlist and learn about the features you want. Go through reviews and ratings to know if a car you’re interested in would offer good value for the price.
Most automobile dealerships will try to sell you overpriced features that you don’t need, so be prepared to stand your ground. Never let the seller know about your maximum budget if you like saving money.
Don’t come across as too eager if you really like a car and hope to close the deal. Start at a low bid and bargain adamantly until the dealer gives you a reasonable offer. Do not hesitate to walk away if the seller refuses to cooperate and cut you some slack.
Should I Get a Vehicle History Report Before Buying A New Car?
A car’s history report is like a medical record. It chronicles everything that has happened to the vehicle since it was first manufactured, including accidents, ownership changes, service and repairs, and more.
You can order a history report for any car you’re considering purchasing from a number of different companies. The most popular is Carfax, but you can also get reports from Experian, Autocheck, and VinSmart.
Most car dealerships will also provide a history report for free if you ask. It’s a good idea to get one before you buy any used car, as it can reveal important information about the vehicle’s past that you might not otherwise know about.
This is especially important when buying your first car. The last thing you want is for your first car to have issues the minute you take ownership.
What Should I Look for in a Car History Report?
When you get a car history report, there are a few things you should look for in particular:
Any accidents that have been reported on the vehicle will be listed here, including information on whether the car was totaled or not. This is important to know, as a car that has been in a serious accident may have hidden damage that could cause problems down the road.
Service and Repair History
This information can be very helpful in determining whether a car has been well-maintained or not. If you see a lot of service and repair entries, it may be an indication that the car has had a lot of problems in the past.
If multiple people have owned a car, it can be a red flag. This is especially true if the ownership changes have happened within a short period of time.
The reason is that if a car has had multiple owners in a short period of time, it may be because there are serious problems with the car that people are trying to get rid of quickly.
This is an indication that the car’s odometer has been tampered with in order to make it appear as though the car has less mileage than it actually does. This is a serious problem, as it can affect the value of the car and cause problems down the road.
A vehicle history report will also list any maintenance records that are available. This can be very helpful in determining whether a car has been well-maintained or not.
If you see a lot of entries for oil changes, tune-ups, and other routine maintenance, it’s a good indication that the car has been taken care of.
John Adams is a technology enthusiast, lifestyle blogger, and paralegal at a personal injury law firm. He writes about widespread social and legal issues, aiming to help readers solve problems the smart way rather than the hard way. He also loves sharing personal views on technological developments and trending life hacks.
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