Nothing gets us more excited than buying a new car. It doesn’t have to be brand new, it can be second hand, but to us, it is new and that is super exciting.
However, there are so many things you need to think about before you buy, and things you should consider, so you get the car that is a perfect fit for you whilst also not having to spend a crazy amount of cash putting your wallet in a bad place.
But how do you decide which car is the right one for you? We are sure you have a few things in mind, you are probably considering brands, colors, makes, and dealers. You’ve probably thought about the type of fuel and its engine capacity too.
But, a car is more than that, it’s a commitment, and you need to be certain you are getting what you want out of this commitment.
So, where do you start?
Things To Consider Before Finding A Car
The car you want specifically is not the only thing you should consider before you buy a car. Branding, make, model, engine size, and so on are not the only things you should consider, although at first they may feel like a priority.
Of course, you should take these things into consideration, however, think about purpose as well. If you often drive down country roads, or there is rough terrain, you won’t be wanting a sports car or a car with a low suspension, you will want something that feels more secure on the roads.
However, there are three more things you really need to consider before you start looking, and need to take into consideration before you set your heart on anything.
Money, sadly, is what makes the world go round, and a good car requires a lot of it. Thankfully, most dealerships will allow you to finance a car, but this still requires a budget.
If you have been thinking about getting a new car for a while you may have put some savings aside just for this, and this will greatly help you get a car. If not, you may want to do some saving first.
Buying outright is much better than financing, and it is actually cheaper, as you do not have the added interest.
So, it is best to figure out just how much you can afford at this point. The more you have saved the better, and without any savings getting a decent car may be quite tricky.
Consider a budget for your new car before you go looking around.
Job Security & Methods Of Payment
Aside from savings, you should also consider what you can afford, however long term considerations are not enough. Sure, you might be able to afford a $300 a month payment right now on a loan for your car.
However, if you lost your job in a month, would you still have the money to make these payments until you find new work?
You should consider your job security if you will have to pay a loan to finance the car. If you pay up front then this is not a concern, although there are some cars that will simply devour the fuel, and you should consider insurance and fuel costs as well.
Consider how much you can afford to pay for a vehicle, then imagine the worst case scenario, like losing your job.
This is where the aforementioned savings come in handy. Having savings protects you if you end up out of work for a few months.
Spacing & Parking Location
Finally, you should also consider parking and space. There is no point in getting a large four-wheeler if the nearest place you can park it is a 5-minute walk away. You need something that will fit on your driveway, the street, or wherever you park your car.
Some inner city areas will allow street parking and on some narrow streets, a small hatchback will be more suitable than a large saloon car.
Consider where you will be parking your future vehicle and if it will fit. And do not just think about driving it into the space, remember you will need to open the doors as well.
Cost is not all that matters, and neither is style. Do consider how big it is and if there is such a thing as ‘too big’ for your area.
Top 20 Tips For Finding The Right Car For You
Aside from these things we have listed above, there are many other things you should consider as well. However, instead of just listing them, we will go into detail about each one of these things.
Buying a car is a great experience, and it can give you a new lease on life for some of us. However, it is not something you can do just because you feel like it. Buying a new car is something you need to think about.
There are many factors aside from simply the style you like, or your favorite manufacturer. Things such as budget, savings, space, use, and more all come into play when you are looking for your new vehicle.
You want to get it right as well, cars cost a large hunk of money, and so you want to make sure that whatever car you do buy is the correct car for you in every sense.
Work Within A Budget
Budgeting is an important part of being an adult, managing your money can stop you from seeping into debt or struggling to make it month after month. With a car, budgeting is just as significant.
However, it is not just the original cost of the vehicle that matters. Do not forget to consider the insurance costs, running costs, the costs of any services that it may need, and maintenance.
Cars are not just a one off payment and then totally fine, they need to be maintained on a regular basis, and they come with extra costs, taxes, insurance, and so on.
So, make sure you take all this into account when you budget for a new car in your life. Some cars may be cheap up front but their maintenance and running costs are crazy high, so always do the calculations and then apply it to your budget.
Choose a car based on what you can afford before you choose based on what you like.
Think Big Picture
Consider the bigger picture, a car is not just something pretty to look at and enjoy, it is a practical piece of machinery that many of us use on a regular basis. You need to consider many factors.
Consider passenger space, and cargo space. If you live in a very rural area, will you need all-wheel drive, or if you have a long commute on a regular basis is fuel economy most important to you.
What kind of surfaces will you be driving on, do you mainly drive on the highway and paved streets or do you often off-road, or have to deal with gravel roads?
Is it likely that you will need to tow? Do you have any must-have requirements for your future car?
Think these things over prior to buying!
Always Check Service History
For some this might seem like an obvious point, but when we find ‘the car’ we typically forget to check its service history. There is no point getting a good deal on a car if there is much wrong with it, and it has failed checkups and had issues before.
You will end up spending a fortune on getting it fixed all the time instead of just the upfront costs.
Servicing history will tell you how frequently it was serviced, issues that were addressed, and more.
It is important to always look over the paperwork. Dealers sometimes do not disclose everything you would like them to, so ask the right questions, and if you are a new driver take someone with you who will know what to ask.
We all want a nice car that will turn heads on the street, but that just isn’t real, you need something that is practical. There is no realism in having a Lamborghini on a farm, or having a Jeep when you live in the inner city.
Consider a practical vehicle that will meet your needs as a driver.
If you have long commutes consider an economical car that can save you money, if you require it for the whole family then consider size and space, perhaps something with gadgets or room for additional gadgets to keep the kids busy on long trips.
Practicality should be the first thing on your mind after you have considered your budget, it will tell you what kind of car you are looking for, and what is most ideal for your situation.
Remember, this car will be helping you to get where you need to go, so make sure it actually can!
Find Avenues Of Financial Support
Some of us are lucky enough to be able to buy a car outright from dealers, but most of us are not, and will have to take out a loan to finance the vehicle, so make sure whatever financial support you get, you do it right.
If you are a first time driver and just passed your test, see if any family will be willing to help you afford your first car. It’s an exciting time after all!
If you do take out a loan try to avoid long loans, auto loans are already long enough, many will last upwards of half a dozen years, but this length is just not ideal. You normally pay high interest rates, and the total cost of the car goes up.
Search around for loans, and maybe avoid financing with a dealership, they offer long loans and this is usually just a tactic to sell more cars.
How Much Space Is Required
Remember you need to think about space. If it is likely just to be used for personal means then a two-seater or a small hatchback will be plenty. In fact, these cars are ideal for new drivers, typically low in cost as well!
However, if you need the car for the family, think about what you need. Do you require baby seats? If a member of your family has a disability, will you be able to fit their wheelchair, or other required assistance in the car?
Will you require the car for work, and what does your work entail? Will you need to transport a lot of equipment on a regular basis?
Consider trunk space and seats in the car.
Remember that nothing is more uncomfortable than a jam-packed car!
Safety Is A Must
Safety is absolutely essential in any car. If you buy second hand, you want to ensure all the safety equipment in the car is functional and safe. However, this is especially true for new drivers.
Safety is a big factor for new drivers in their first car. Safe cars will protect you on roads and keep you alive if there is an accident.
There are some brands that are considered to be safest, also a safer vehicle brand can usually mean lower insurance costs too! Not only that, but the cars’ history is also important. If this car has been involved in many collisions in the past, the insurance on it will go up.
So, consider safety in many ways, not just in its security features and make/ model, but also in the individual car itself as well. It all matters.
When we are looking to buy a car, we often focus on the price of the car itself and totally forget about other costs such as insurance costs.
When you pay car insurance, you are paying a monthly bill (or yearly for some providers). The insurer calculates how much you owe based on the car’s make and model, history, and safety.
You and factors about you will also be taken into account on the costs of the car insurance as well. The cheaper and safer a car is the less expensive it is likely to be.
You should look up quotes on potential cars before you buy, and it is imperative that you get your insurance before you get into your car after you buy it. You cannot be on the road without insurance, as if you end up in an accident on the way home, you will be uninsured.
Insurance protects you from ending up in a huge amount of debt.
Fuel Cost & Miles Per Gallon Intake
Let’s not beat around the bush, the more miles you can get per gallon on gas is extremely in your favor. No one wants to have to fill up at the gas station every other day just for normal uses.
Okay, that is an extreme example, but some cars really do guzzle gas. This is another reason hatchbacks are a great shout for new drivers, as most of them are pretty economic with their fuel usage.
Every car will have an estimated EPA rating, which is an estimate of how many miles you will get per gallon.
If your car has an EPA of 57 this means you can get 57 miles per gallon of gas. High mileage cars are a great investment, they take up less gas at the pumps.
There is a similar rating for EV’s too, based on their battery.
A reliable car is a good car. Sure a great deal might be ideal for your wallet right now, but in the long term it will do nothing but bring you trouble.
They might look good on paper, but you will be breaking down a lot, and become best friends with the local mechanic, and not for any good reasons.
It is better to find a car that is reliable, with a good service history. Check consumer reports as they will assess the reliability of a car using plenty of data.
Using this can help you to buy a car that will last longer and not take many trips to your mechanic (you can become friends with your mechanic in ways that don’t cost you an arm and a leg).
Luxuries Are Not Necessary
If you are buying your first car, don’t go mad searching for luxuries, you do not need a fancy sound system, or leather seats, massive rims will be useless too.
Really all you need is a Bluetooth sound system, which most cars have these days, so you can link up your Spotify or mobile device to play your favorite tunes. Any seats will do as long as they’re in a good condition, although we would recommend avoiding white seats.
As a first car all you need is the basics.
Later on, you may want something a bit fancier, and that is okay. If this is not your first car, then you can splurge if you want, but do not buy unnecessary things for the hell of it if it will push you over budget.
Only spend what you can afford to, and stay on budget.
Consider A Manual Transmission
While many cars in the U.S. are automatics, consider getting a manual, of course, you want to know how to drive stick, but if you can drive a manual it opens up more options for you.
When you know how to drive automatic, you can only really drive automatic cars, manuals will seem baffling. However, if you can drive a manual, you can drive manual and automatic, and this gives you so many more options when you look to buy.
Manuals are also usually cheaper than automatics. Manual cars also often force drivers to pay more attention to the road, you have more to think about, and you won’t be tempted to look around the car or check your phone.
It forces you to think about your driving more than you frequently would otherwise.
Having more options of cars to buy is also a positive thing, you have more choices, and cheaper choices too!
Always Take A Test Drive
Once you have found a car you like, always take it for a test drive. Any car will feel different from the car you learned in. No two cars will feel the same, and if you go to a dealership, they will likely have even supped up the used cars.
A car you learn in will be worn down, but when you buy a car, this is less likely. The brake pedals and gas will be more sensitive. It is important to test drive the car for many reasons.
You might like how it looks, but a car is not there for you to look at, it is a functional device, and you need to feel it in action. A car can look great and come with many pros, but if you don’t like how it feels to drive, then there is no point in buying it.
Have Someone With You Drive Test Drive
When you test drive a car you should have someone in the car with you. It is ideal to take a co-pilot with you, perhaps an older sibling, or a parent. Some dealerships may have a salesperson go with you.
They will know some of the warning signs to look out for in the car, will ask you questions you might forget to ask yourself in the heat of the moment. You should also make sure you are comfortable in the car, and having someone with you will help put you at ease.
You will have learned with someone else in the car, and so test-driving this car for the first time will give you that familiar comfort.
You can look online for test drive checklists, so you know what to look out for, but it is good to have someone else do this. You just focus on the road and how it feels.
A Car That Is Easy To Drive
Yes, we know, we are probably preaching to the choir here, and stating the obvious. No one wants a complicated car, it is just not realistic or ideal.
You want something that will be easy for you to drive. This means the car should be drivable, with a good steering response, powerful brakes that are responsive to the slightest tap, and great visibility.
It should also be easy to drive in your personal situation too. If you live in an urban area, a small car that can fit into tight spots is ideal, and probably the best decision you could make. In rural areas, it should be smooth on uneven terrain.
A cars’ drivability is not only subject to the car’s make, age, and how well it has been looked after if it is used, but also in terms of your personal situation as well.
Colors & Design Aren’t Everything
It is so easy to prioritize the color and design of a car. Some of us might prefer one color to another, or really like one particular style of vehicle. We can relate, it’s natural for us to want to buy something that is pleasing for us to look at.
It’s a bit like clothes in that sense. However, it is not the end all be all, especially if you are picking out your first car.
Your first priority should be cost, reliability, easy driving, and low insurance. Insurance is already high when you are a first year driver, you don’t need it being bumped up because you bought a car just for the color or style.
Exclude these from the list of what you ‘need’, and obviously if you find a car that has what you do need, and you like the look of then brilliant! But do not prioritize this! Functionality comes first.
Don’t Compare To Friend’s Cars
We, as people, are absolute suckers for comparing ourselves and our possessions to those of others. It’s one of humanity’s many faults, we tend to look at others and compare what we have with what they have.
Don’t do this, your friend might have a brand-new Audi, that does not mean you should have one too. They are in a different situation financially, and may have been driving for longer, and live in a different area. You two just aren’t the same people.
Make your decision for you, not anyone else. Think about what YOU need, and what YOU want. It’s not a fashion statement, it’s not something to be boasting over social media, it is a functional piece of machinery.
You can show off in other ways.
Know How To Negotiate
Do not negotiate the price, we aren’t in a medieval village with a merchant, and the car is not a wicker basket. You won’t get anywhere doing this. But, you can negotiate some aspects of buying a car.
You shouldn’t waste any time bartering over the registration of the car, its taxes, or any destination fees.
However, you can barter other things, this includes the documentation fees, dealer mark-ups, surcharges for advertising, and any other unnecessary expenses.
If you make a concession on any price, ask for a deal in return, consider lifetime oil changes, or floor mats, or even a free polishing. Get inventive.
Know when to negotiate and when not to.
You won’t be able to negotiate your way into or out of many things, but if you can negotiate on at least one or two things, that is a win right there!
Consider Leasing Or Buying
One thing that few of us think of before you invest in a car is whether we want to buy it or lease it.
Each has its own pros and cons, however some situations will be better for some than others.
If you lease a car you can drive more expensive cars without spending as much, and you can drive a new car with the latest tech. Repairs are usually covered by warranty and there is no trade in hassle.
If you buy there is more flexibility to sell when you want to, you can also modify the car, you do not get penalties for mileage, and your expenses are lower in the long run.
However, if you lease when it ends you have no car. If you buy it is more expensive at first, but you do own the car in the end, and you can theoretically drive it ‘til it breaks.
Look For Deals With Benefits
Take advantage of deals, some sellers will panic a bit when a car nears the end of its cycle, or if it isn’t selling all that well. They will start offering deals to grab your interest, this could be anything from low interest rates on payments to cash back and so on.
You can also find special deals to finance a certified pre-owned car too.
You can actually save thousands by taking advantage of these deals. It also works for leased cars too!
In some cases, drivers may want to get a warranty on their car, which is not always ideal, but if you do want to get a warranty on your vehicle, some deals will include extended warranties at a special price, or even included the cost of the car.
This doesn’t always work, but make sure you do the math before you shun deals away, sometimes it can save you a pretty penny and save you cash in the long run.
Finding your perfect car is no easy feat, some of us spend months looking for a car that hits the spot, with all that we need from it and that we like.
It takes time to decide what will work for you, but you should always start by looking at making a budget, and knowing what you need from a car. Create a list before you go looking around, and make sure you tick things off before you choose.
Pay attention to paperwork, history, and insurance costs.
Eventually, you will find the perfect car for you!