ExecutiveChronicles.com | 3 Things To Consider When Purchasing Your First Car | Buying a car is a rite of passage for many. This is even more so when it’s their first car. Like buying a home, a vehicle purchase is a step into adulthood.
In 2019, 17 million cars and trucks were sold in the United States. Some of your friends might have made one of these purchases.
They could have shopped for a new vehicle or a used car in Spearfish. They might have gone to White’s Canyon Ford or another dealer in South Dakota. It depended on what they wanted and how much they could afford.
Now it’s your turn to purchase your first car. Before you set out for a test drive, consider these three things.
Can You Afford It?
It’s the prime question to ask yourself. If you don’t have the funds to pay for a car, then everything else is pointless. If you’re on the border, then consider some other questions.
First, what’s your current debt-to-income ratio? This is the amount of money you make and how much you owe. If the debt is less, then you can easily shop for your first car. If it’s more, then hold back and pay off some of those bills.
Second, how will you pay for your first car? By watching the market and saving the right amount of money you can purchase the vehicle you want with ease. On the other hand, you might want to provide a large down payment and use an auto loan for the rest.
Third, is it affordable once you leave the lot? There’s more to your first car than the purchase price. You have to pay registration and plate fees. You have to factor in maintenance costs and repairs. Additionally, you need to be prepared for an increase in your car insurance.
Are You Getting A Good Deal?
Whether it’s new or used, you don’t want to pay more than you should for your first vehicle. The way to know that you’re getting a good deal is to perform research. Initially, look at sites like Edmunds and Kelly Blue Book (KBB) to get a sense of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). These resources break the prices down by vehicle quality and features.
Next, scour the sites of local dealers for the cars you’re interested in. See if they match what estimates have provided. If higher, look at the extras they offer if you make a purchase. For example, a used vehicle with a higher MSRP than Edmunds suggests might feature satellite radio or an extended warranty.
Take the knowledge you have to the dealers and see what they can do. They know that you probably know how much the vehicle costs. If they tried to tell you otherwise, then head to another dealership. It might take some time, but a thorough review can get you in the car you want at the right price.
How Much Will Maintenance Cost?
No two cars are built the same. Each has its quirks. Some vehicles go without maintenance for years. Others have to go back to the shop after a few months. It’s the reason why you want to review the maintenance histories of these vehicles.
You definitely want to consider this for pre-owned vehicles. A 200-point check by the dealership doesn’t mean they’ll find everything that’s wrong with the car. For a complete history, you want to request a CARFAX report. Available online or through a dealer, this data sheet details all of the service that’s been done on the vehicle. It also shows if bodywork was done due to an accident.
Another item to consider is who makes the vehicle. Standard cars from the U.S., Europe, and Asia can normally be repaired at any shop. However, higher-end models, like the BMW or a Mercedes-Benz, might have different maintenance models as some of the parts are handmade or not available. As a result, you can pay more for a service appointment no matter what the need.
Patience and research are critical when you consider purchasing your first car. Though you’re ready to drive one off the lot right now, a little more time can get you the vehicle you desire at a completely affordable cost.