The big day has finally arrived, and you are ready to begin looking for your first car! There are so many types, styles, sizes, and designs of vehicle to choose from on the market today, it can seem like an overwhelming task to make a choice of what will be the best vehicle for you. While exciting, choosing your first car can also be a bit confusing so here are a few tips to help you on your way.
First, realistically assess exactly how much you can afford to spend on a vehicle, and then reduce that number by several hundred dollars. There are always unexpected factors along the way, so saving yourself a little bit of room in your budget is wise. Consider not only the initial cost of the vehicle itself, but also the cost for fuel, insurance, and routine maintenance. Also consider your credit history and current credit score in determining your ability to secure a loan for a vehicle, or if you will have to pay completely from your own pocket.
Next, using your budget and borrowing abilities as a guide, decide whether you will look for a used or new vehicle. If you are able to secure financing, purchasing a new vehicle and then paying off the loan without mishap can improve your credit rating as well as put you in a possibly nicer vehicle. However, even used vehicles can be purchased with an auto loan, so let your overall budget lead your thinking.
At this point you are ready to go shopping. Take an experienced friend with you to help navigate the pitfalls of dealing with sales staff and pushy auto dealers, and keep an open mind as you look around and see what is available in your price range. You might also peruse ads from private sellers in your area, as often you will find very sound vehicles at a lower price when purchasing from a private owner.
Once you have decided on the vehicle you wish to purchase, have it examined by an experienced mechanic who can point out any undisclosed problems. This is only important when purchasing a used vehicle, of course. Ask for time to read thoroughly any warranties in effect for the vehicle, and make sure you understand their provisions and limitations. Thoroughly read your purchase agreement before you sign any documents, and ask questions about anything you do not understand. Make sure to take care of insurance and licensing necessities before driving away, and file your purchase documents away in a safe and fire-proof location.
Your first car purchase will be a memorable experience, so use caution and make it a memorably good one!