Buying a new car is a huge milestone in anyone’s life – owning your own vehicle imparts a sense of freedom and independence that is only beaten by owning your own home. However, buying a car can be a tricky process and can have some consequences for you later on down the track. Read on to find some tips on how to make the most of your car buying experience.
1. What car is right for you?
There is a type of car for every purpose – SUVs, heavy duty work trucks, four-wheel drives for the adventurous, sports cars for the fast and the furious, and the everyday sedan for those simply wanting to get from A to B. Before purchasing a new car, think about what you want the car for – are you ferrying your family for weekend commitments? Are you wanting to go on long drives around the country? Are you looking for ample storage room?
The use case for your car will determine the type of car is best for you. The last thing you want to do is purchase a car which is not fit for the purpose – for example, a two-seater convertible will not work as the main family car.
2. Who are you buying the car from?
There are multiple ways to buy a car. You can go to an established dealership, buy secondhand from a private party or bid at an auction. Whichever method you go for, do some research to avoid getting burned later on. There are pros and cons of whichever type of method you choose.
Car dealerships offer the most security when purchasing a car and come with an established support and servicing network if anything goes wrong after purchase. They also offer finance deals and can negotiate a deal based on your financial situation. The flip side is that, generally, cars are more expensive when purchasing through a dealer.
Purchasing from a private party can be cheaper, and there is more scope to negotiate a good deal. However, there is often limited recourse available if anything goes wrong after purchase. You can try and mitigate this by asking the seller for documents relating to the cars servicing or owner history.
3. When is the best time to buy?
Timing is often critical when looking to purchase a new car. For example, cars can often be found cheaper at the end of a particular season (especially summer), or at month or year-end when dealerships try to clear excess inventory. In order to do this, you should look at having your finances in order prior to looking to buy so you can commit quickly to a car when it goes on sale.
4. What additional costs should I factor in?
Many times, the costs associated with purchasing a vehicle do not end at the purchase or finance price. There are several other costs such as vehicle insurance, servicing, license and registration, and in some cases, road user charges. Make sure to take into account any additional costs when looking at purchasing a car.
Additionally, fuel efficiency is a big factor. The more fuel efficient your car, the less it costs to run. Sometimes, the cheapest car in terms of upfront costs may not be the cheapest in the long run. Look at the miles per gallon sticker in car windows to get a sense of how fuel efficient a car is.
5. How much should I spend?
This is often the biggest question on purchasers minds when they buy a car. Your budget is based on your means. When looking at a car, shop based on the purchase price, not the finance deal. Dealerships often break down costs into monthly amounts to mask the true cost, and you should look at the total amount you are paying (principal and interest) before making a purchase decision.
Whatever your vehicle needs, if you can remember to follow these helpful tips you really can’t go too far astray when it comes to buying your next car.