15 Things That Make Car Shopping Easier

You might find it surprising to learn that the average new car in the United States costs nearly $50,000. The good news is you don’t have to spend this amount when looking for a vehicle. Many people choose to purchase used cars instead.

Regardless of what you’re looking for, there are certain tips you can keep in mind when car shopping to streamline the process. We’ve created a brief guide with some of the most important information to keep in mind. Let’s explore what you need to know when car buying.

1. Test Driving

Test driving is one of the most important ways you can narrow down your potential options. Most dealerships won’t have an issue letting you take a car for an extensive test drive if necessary.

If they deflect questions about this topic, this is a sign you should look elsewhere. You should also avoid a car dealership with salespeople who attempt to pressure you to purchase the vehicle during the test drive.

2. Research

Thoroughly research the car you’re interested in before moving forward. This will allow you to avoid issues you may have otherwise encountered. For example, the vehicle may have been involved in a collision in the past.

This could influence your decision to buy the car. If you don’t have access to information about the vehicle’s history, it’s imperative to search for a different car instead. The last thing you want is to purchase a vehicle and later regret your decision.

3. Establish a Budget

It’s important to establish a budget before searching for a new vehicle. This will allow you to avoid wasting time looking at vehicles that are outside of your price range. Your budget should be limited by what you can reasonably afford.

If buying a car would strain your finances, it’s recommended to tighten your budget. Look at multiple offers for the same car to get a feel for what it’s worth, as well. Otherwise, you might end up paying thousands more than you should.

4. Check Online

Car shopping online can help you find enticing deals you may have otherwise not known about. It will also help you avoid pushy salespeople who pressure you to decide without having enough time to think about it.

Another advantage of shopping online is having access to all the relevant information about the vehicle. This includes specs, mileage, and previous owners. Once you find an offer you’re interested in, you can contact the seller to learn more.

There’s something to be said about the convenience of this process, as well. You can browse different and while working, during your downtime, etc.

5. New vs Used

Police options have their advantages, and it’s essential to understand which is right for you. New cars have modern features and higher longevity, but they come at a higher price point.

New cars will help us save money, but they are more likely to need repairs. In many cases, purchasing a used car will be the superior option.

6. Don’t Overlook Vehicle History Reports

These provide valuable insight into the car’s history. One of the most important attributes to consider is whether the car has previously had work done.

As previously mentioned, overlooking the car’s history can make you regret your purchase in the future. In some situations, you won’t be able to sell the car for as much as you paid for it.

7. Consider Expanding Your Search

Limiting yourself to local inventory options can make it more difficult to find the car that’s best for your needs. Consider expanding outside of this constraint so you can explore alternative options.

It’s important to keep in mind that you’ll need to travel to see the car in person before making your decision. Don’t expand your search too far so you don’t have to drive hundreds of miles.

8. Secure Proper Auto Financing

When exploring financing options, it’s important to only borrow from reputable resources. This will help you prevent scams or dealing with absurd interest rates.

In general, people often secure auto finance loans from banks or dealerships. You should look into getting pre-approved for a loan, as well.

This will expedite the process and prevent your financing from falling through. There’s nothing worse than thinking you’re going to purchase a new car and then being told your loan request has been denied. While securing a high interest rate isn’t ideal, you don’t have to deal with it for the duration of your loan.

You have the opportunity to get an auto refinance loan to reduce the amount you pay in interest. This can help you save a substantial amount of money, and in many cases, this amounts to thousands.

9. Get an Insurance Quote

Don’t be one of the countless people who are surprised by their insurance rates after they purchase a new car. Getting caught off guard can leave you paying hundreds more per month than you expected. In some cases, it could make your car payment unaffordable.

Reach out to your insurance company and give them as much information as possible about your prospective purchase. They’ll give you a quote and you can determine whether it’s suitable before moving forward.

While these quotes are often set and stone, your insurance agent can help you find ways to reduce the overall cost. In many cases, you can save more on your car insurance company that you already have a policy with. For example, if you already have homeowners insurance through Geico, they’ll likely give you a discount for adding a new auto policy.

10. Get an Inspection

It’s essential to get a professional vehicle inspection before the sale closes. Otherwise, you’ll find out the hard way whether your car has issues.

Since car purchases involve you agreeing to accept the car as-is, you won’t have recourse if you discover problems in the future. Having surprises like these arise could be difficult to accommodate.

11. Don’t Impulse Buy

Impulse buying is one of the worst mistakes you can make when shopping for new cars. Not only will it cause you to overspend, you might not even enjoy the car you buy after the initial excitement wears off.

Sit on your idea for a few weeks to determine if you genuinely want to purchase the vehicle or are only excited by the idea of purchasing something new. Chances are you’ll be able to make a much more rational decision after giving it some serious thought.

12. Ask About Warranties

Be careful when purchasing a car that doesn’t have a comprehensive warranty. This comes with substantial risk that will require you to handle problems on your own.

In extreme cases, the cost of the issues you encounter could exceed the value of the car. Cars with 100,000 miles or more likely won’t be under warranty, so keep this in mind.

13. Don’t Neglect Safety

Many people make the mistake of neglecting safety features when purchasing a new car. This is especially important if you have children regularly present in the vehicle. The good news is most modern cars have no shortage of safety features.

You can easily find this information online or ask the sales professional you communicate with. Some people choose to browse cars based on their safety features, as well.

14. Consider Your Future Needs

It’s important to consider your future needs before making your decision. For example, if you plan to have a family one day, it wouldn’t make sense to purchase a small car or one with two seats. Don’t rush this part of the process, as it can often take a substantial amount of time to figure out how your life will be.

The more time you spend on this obligation, the less likely you will encounter issues. Keep in mind that it can be impossible to accurately predict every detail of your future lifestyle.

Surprises can occur at any time. As long as you put a decent amount of effort in, though, you shouldn’t encounter issues.

15. Put Forth a Larger Down Payment

Putting a large down payment toward your car can help you reduce the amount of money you pay overall. For example, consider a situation where you are interested in a car that costs $20,000. If you put down $1,000, you need to finance $19,000.

In contrast, if your down payment was $8,000, you’d only need to finance $12,000. The less money you borrow, the better.

However, you don’t need to stress if you can’t contribute a large down payment to your new car. It’s not uncommon for people to put down $0 toward their car and continue making payments until they pay off their loan.

Keep These Car Shopping Tips in Mind

It can be difficult to find the right decision for your situation when car shopping, but the information in this guide will help ensure you avoid common pitfalls. From here, you should have no issue finding the vehicle best for your situation.

Looking for other useful lifestyle information that can help you make better financial decisions in the future? Our blog has plenty of articles like this one, so be sure to check it out today.

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