For many consumers, buying a car is the first major purchase of their lives. After all, unless you live in an area with extensive public transportation, a vehicle is likely to come before you buy a home or even a major appliance. It can be nerve-racking to spend thousands of dollars on a single product, even if it’s something you really need.
At INFINITI of Ardmore, we understand. We’ve been right where you are as a buyer, but we’ve also helped countless others through the purchasing process. We’ve done this before. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some first-time car buying tips.
Top First-Time Car Buyer Tips
Below is a list of 11 different car buying tips that should be useful to anyone, especially first-time buyers. From doing your research beforehand to finishing up the experience with a test drive, these are suggestions that are sure to make your first time buying a car as smooth and easy as driving on a newly paved road.
1. Make and Stick to a Budget
The most important thing going into any car purchase is to make a budget. Know what you can spend, what you ideally want to spend, and what you could maybe spend if the deal was good enough. This will help you not to get persuaded into an offer that will cost you much more than you intended to pay.
2. Research Local Dealerships
Spend some time researching the dealerships in your area. There are likely reviews out there about each of them. Don’t just go to the first one you come across. Take some time to learn what you can about customer experience, the prices, and any deals they may offer.
3. Decide on New vs. Used
How are you going to use the car? Why do you need it? Knowing the type of car you want before you go is valuable. Are you in the market to be able to afford a new vehicle? Is that worth it? Would it make more sense to go with a lightly used vehicle at a discounted price? Once you’ve decided the model you want, look into how it holds its value as a used vs. a new car.
4. Be Smart About Financing
Know if you’re going to need a loan and do what you can to maintain or improve your credit score. Also, don’t be distracted by longer financing terms. Even if a lengthy loan comes with zero down payment or low monthly offers, these types of financing options often conceal the true price of the car. You might find yourself paying for this first car a lot longer than you expected to. It might be advisable to anticipate a down payment and budget for one.
5. Plan for Future Maintenance Costs
The type of vehicle you purchase could come with some hefty maintenance costs in the event of an accident or even just for regular, routine maintenance. This should be part of the budget you set up at the start. Can you afford to pay for the repairs for your chosen ride? Or if you’re not looking for a specific vehicle with specific needs, at least be aware that cars are an expense and are going to continue to cost you money, outside of the initial down payment and monthly fees.
6. Save for a Down Payment
As we’ve mentioned, it’s advisable to pay a down payment on your first vehicle. In fact, consider going to a less expensive, used vehicle, prepping for a larger down payment, and selecting a shorter financing option. The more prepared you are to pay off your vehicle, the sooner you’ll be able to do so and get out of debt.
7. Bolster Your Credit Score
Your credit score might need a little help if you plan to apply for a loan. If you’re preparing months or years in advance for this first-time car purchase, start doing what you can now to boost your credit score. This means paying off your monthly bills on time and establishing a pattern that proves you’re a reliable person worthy of investment. If you haven’t established a credit history, getting a credit card and using it responsibly can help.
8. Budget for Needed Upgrades
If you’d like to make some modifications to your very first car, keep in mind that car upgrades can be pricey. However, if the costs fit in with your budget and make your vehicle safer, then it might all be worth your while.
9. Choose a Dealer That Has the Car You Want
The dealer you choose to go with will have their own deals and offers. They also might not carry the specific vehicle you want to take a look at. Take some time to look into their information to discover more. Calling ahead and asking if they have the car you want to look at on the lot is also a good idea.
10. Find Out if Price is Negotiable
Some dealers and private sellers— may expect the price to be haggled over. You may be able to negotiate a lower price on a used vehicle as opposed to a new one. Find out how much the car is worth before you show up to take a look in-person. Keep in mind that extra features like a backup camera or a sunroof can up the price.
11. Don’t Skip the Test Drive
You should always ask for a test drive or to inspect the vehicle. It might look like everything you’ve ever wanted on paper, but taking it out on the road can bring to light problems or issues that you wouldn’t have been able to know about just by looking at it. Once you’re satisfied with its performance, you’ll be all set!
Discover the Best New Car Buying Experience with INFINITI of Ardmore.
At INFINITI of Ardmore we’ve made it a priority to keep you comfortable for any and all of your car purchasing experiences. We have many useful tools at our disposal, and we’re ready and waiting to use them to help you on your car purchasing journey. Whether you’re in the market for a used vehicle or wanting to look at options for financing, we’re here to help.