TodayJuly 31, 2021

Top things to Consider before Buying a Car

Total Cost of Ownership information

Buying a car for the first time can be a real challenge. As a buyer, you need to consider your finances and other personal issues. It is also a time to consider car safety ratings, engine size, the car model, and other standard quality measures. Did you know in 2019, Toyota topped first-time car purchases in Australia with 205,766 total sales? With so much to consider, where do you even start? Well, to make it easier for you, here is a list of the essential things you should consider before getting your first car.

Think about your budget and financing

A realistic look at your expenses must go beyond just the actual price of the car you intend to purchase. Owning a vehicle means incurring costs, such as car insurance, fuelling, maintenance, and repairs. You should assess your monthly budget to determine if you have enough resources to keep a car. In a 2019 survey, the Australian Automobile Association discovered that it costs about $8,203 annually to maintain a small car. In contrast, medium to sports cars cost between $10,000 and almost $14,000 annually to maintain. Can your current finances cater to the costs associated with owning a 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible, for example? You should purchase a vehicle that would be cost-effective for you.

Check your credit score.

Before going ahead to purchase your first car, you should consider your credit score. Knowing about your credit score is useful because it gives an idea of the sum you can borrow. It also acts as a guide for what car you can afford to purchase- so you do not make an impulse buy at the car dealership. However, more importantly, a good credit score allows you to apply for low car loan rates as it boosts your potential creditor’s confidence in you. On the other hand, a bad credit score makes it difficult to apply for a car loan or end up with significantly higher interest rates.

Use the internet to explore your options.

Comparatively, it is easier for you to shop for a car today than it was just a few years ago. The internet makes it so much easier to browse for various options on the world wide web. The internet holds a wealth of information, and with a click of a button (or tap on a touchscreen), you can read all about the car you intend to buy. Information on vehicle legroom, engine capacity, fuel efficiency, models, body style, etc., are easy to find. Websites on the internet are excellent places you can gain this information, including the car’s history, recalls, upgrade, and reviews. Your internet searches can help narrow down your choices. For example, if a family car is what you need as a first-time buyer, you definitely should look at a more spacious vehicle. However, a smaller vehicle will be acceptable if you are a single young professional.

Apply for a car loan.

Think about financing. Prior to visiting any dealership, know how much of a deposit you can put down and what monthly payment you can afford.

Shop around

Compare prices, Research your trade-in’s value. What is the residual value of the car you’re going to buy?

Do you have a trade-in? Know the value, know how much you need to get from your trade-in, and do what is necessary to get that amount.

Test drive potential purchases

Also, ask if there are any manufacturer’s or dealer’s incentives to buy the car.

Look at the history of the car.

Are there any reported accidents?

Buying a car is one of the most important purchases you will be making as an adult. As much as it is an exciting moment, you should be sure you are making the right decision, and these three tips would help you do that.

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Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.

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