Buying Your First Car

7 Steps to Buying Your First Car

  1. Figure out what you can afford

  2. Shop around for the best deal

  3. Test drive different cars

  4. Get a car history report and mechanical inspection

  5. Finalize the purchase and register the car

  6. Insure your car

  7. Enjoy your new ride!

 

Stick To Your Budget

First time car buyers often make the mistake of rushing into a purchase without doing their research first. This can lead to overpaying for a car that doesn’t fit their needs or budget.

By setting a budget first, you can avoid this common pitfall. Figure out how much you can comfortably afford to spend on a car payment each month. Then, research the Fair Market Range prices for the type of car you’re interested in. This will give you a good starting point

Start Your Research

With an established budget in hand, it’s time to start shopping around for the best deal. There are so many sites online to do research where you can check out safety ratings, available options, interior features and more.

Test Drive Several Cars

After you’ve narrowed down your choices, it’s time to take them for a spin. This will help you get a feel for how the car drives and handles. It’s also a good time to see if there are any additional features that you may want or need.

Get A Car History Report And Mechanical Inspection

Once you’ve found the perfect car, it’s time to do a little digging into its history. A car history report will tell you if the car has been in any accidents or had any major repair work done.

Finalize The Purchase and Register The Car

After you’ve negotiated the price of the car, it’s time to finalize the purchase. This usually involves signing a sales contract and putting down a deposit. The great news is that the dealership will typically handle all the paperwork involved in registering the car.

Insure Your Car

Now that you’re the proud owner of a new car, it’s time to get it insured. The type and amount of coverage you need will vary depending on your state’s laws and your personal driving habits.

Enjoy your new ride!

Buying your first car is a big decision, but we’re here to help make it as easy as possible. We want you to be happy with your purchase and our team will be with you every step of the way.

Contact us today to get started.

 

 

Is Your Car Pulling You In The Wrong Direction

Wheel Alignment - Avoiding The Danger Signs Ahead

If you're experiencing problems with your car pulling to one side, it may be due to a misaligned wheel. A wheel alignment can correct this problem and ensure that your car drives in a straight line. Avoid the danger of driving with a misaligned wheel by getting it corrected at a reputable automotive shop.

Most people don't think about their vehicle's alignment until they experience unusual tire wear or handling concerns. However, just like any other component of your car, regular upkeep is critical to maintaining it in good working order. Here are four reasons why routine wheel alignments are essential.

Wheel Alignments Prevent Uneven Tire Wear

The number one reason to keep up with your wheel alignments is to prevent uneven tire wear. When your wheels are out of alignment, they put unnecessary stress on your tires. This can cause them to wear down faster on one side than the other. It also reduces the life of your tires and makes them more likely to fail unexpectedly.

Wheel Alignments Improve Handling

Another important reason to get regular wheel alignments is to improve the handling of your vehicle. When your wheels are out of alignment, it can make your car feel unstable on the road. This can be dangerous, especially when driving at high speeds or in adverse weather conditions.

Wheel Alignments Improve Fuel Efficiency

When your wheels are out of alignment, your car has to work harder to move forward. This extra effort means that your car will burn through fuel more quickly. In addition, drag from misaligned wheels can also cause your car to lose speed, which wastes even more fuel.

Wheel Alignments Extend the Life of Your Suspension

When your wheels are out of alignment, they place extra stress on your suspension components. Over time, this extra stress can cause these parts to wear out prematurely, resulting in a need for costly repairs or even replacement.

Regular wheel alignments are an important part of keeping your car running safely and efficiently. If you've noticed any unusual tire wear or handling problems, be sure to schedule an appointment with a qualified mechanic right away.

 

Compare Costs Buy New Car vs. Used

Buying used can save you thousands upfront and over cycles of ownership, but buying new has other advantages.

While buying new cars is enticing, you should take a cold, hard look at how much you could save over time by buying used cars instead.

The average person owns 13 cars in a lifetime, each costing an average of $30,000, according to a report by the National Automobile Dealers Association. If each of those cars was 3 years old, instead of new, you could save nearly $130,000 during your lifetime.

The real money-saver in buying a used car is wrapped up in a sinister-sounding financial word: depreciation.

Car buying’s dirty little secret

Once you fully understand how car depreciation sucks money out of your wallet, you’ll learn how to save boatloads of cash over your lifetime. You often hear that a car loses 20% of its value as soon as you buy it. Yes, in just one minute, a $30,000 car will lose $6,000 as you gleefully drive off. By the end of the first year, mileage and wear and tear could bring that to 30%, or $9,000. Why don’t you feel this big hit? Because it takes effect much later, when you sell or trade in your car.

Take a look at two similar cars, one new and one used.

New-car depreciation: You buy the car for $30,000 and sell it three years later for $15,000. The car has cost you $15,000 in depreciation.

used-car depreciation: Now let’s say you buy the same car, but it's 3 years old when you buy it. You could buy the car for $15,000. Three years later you could sell it for $10,000. So the used car depreciation cost you only $5,000.

Now, if you’re paying attention, you would quickly say, “But driving a brand new car is much better!” You’re absolutely right. So, if driving a new car is worth an extra $10,000 to you, go for it. But don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Forget the old used-car stigmas

It used to be common for people to put down used cars by saying that it was just a way to buy someone else’s problems. That’s not true anymore. Here are two updates on old knocks against used cars of recent vintage.

Reliability: Cars have never been more dependable than they are today. It’s not uncommon for some cars to deliver more than 100,000 miles before needing major repairs.

Maintenance: All cars require regular maintenance such as oil changes, tire rotation, brake jobs. But you can drive today’s cars much farther in between these scheduled maintenance visits. Even tires and brake pads last much longer than before.

More used-car advantages

So it’s pretty clear that buying a used car is much cheaper and that cars in general are more dependable. But take a look at these other advantages:

Lower car insurance rates: When a vehicle is worth less, it costs less to insure it when you're buying collision and comprehensive coverage. You can also drop collision and comprehensive coverage, which pay for repairs to your car, and save even more.

Registry renewals are cheaper: The cost of registering a used car goes down every year.

Move up to a luxury car: Because you can save 30% or more, you can shop in a higher class of cars.

Less stress: Got a ding in the door? Who cares? But when it’s the first dent in your new car, it’s a huge bummer.

New-car advantages

While nearly everything about used cars costs less, buying a new car has its advantages.

New-car shopping is easier: All new cars are assumed to be perfect, so evaluating the condition isn’t a factor. No need to take it to a mechanic. Also, it’s easier to figure out what you should pay for a new car, even if the negotiation process is still a pain.

More used-car options: Automakers offer plenty of incentives to lure buyers, such as cash rebates. New car loans have better interest rates. This means you'll likely pay thousands of dollars less than the frightening sticker price once you negotiate a final price and apply the incentives.

Advanced technology: New features for comfort, performance and safety are introduced in new cars every year. You’ll need to wait several years to get them in used cars.

Peace of mind: A new car will likely be more reliable than a used one, even though pre-owned cars are much more dependable than in the past. If a new car breaks down, you can have it fixed for free under the included factory warranty, at least for the first 36,000 miles or three years that most carmakers offer.

Prestige: Let’s put it this way: You don’t hear many people bragging about the used car they just bought.

An exception to the rule

Not all cars depreciate at the same rate. Some brands are known for holding their value exceptionally well. When you add in possible new-car incentives and low-interest used-car, there are times when buying a new car doesn’t cost much more than buying a 1- or 2-year-old car.

You can find how much cars depreciate on several automotive websites, such as Kelley Blue Book’s 5-Year Cost to Own or Consumer Reports’ Cost of Vehicle Ownership.

What it means for you

Depreciation is a silent killer to your automotive budget. But by buying cars that hold their value, you can minimize the effects. If you’re still on the fence, use a car loan calculator to see how much less your monthly payment would be if you bought used instead of new.

Article Originally published on Nerdwallet.comBy Philip Reed
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