Buying a car can be an overwhelming task. You have to find a car that you like, it needs to be in decent condition and when you are looking at best car to find, it feels a little like a race to quickly buy a car before someone else scoops it up before you decide.
Luckily there is no reason that deciding on your new-to-you car needs to be a stressful ordeal. There are some wonderful ways to make sure that you are getting a great deal on a car that anyone can take the time to do. When you follow this advice you can turn your car purchase from problematic to practically perfect.
Take Your Pick
Just like if you were going to buy a new television or washing machine, you would probably start by looking at the brand names that you already trust. The same holds true with cars, find the make you prefer and your search has already narrowed dramatically. If you are more flexible on who has manufactured your car, then try to choose two or three you’d like to focus on.
The next thing is to further whittle your search down to a few models so consider your needs from a vehicle. Do you have four children? Then you’re probably not looking at a two-door sports car. Most people have a fairly realtistic idea of how their new car will fit into their lives already, but be honest with yourself about your actual needs.
Sure you may like a tow package to take your family boating but if you dont have a boat and don’t have immediate plans to purchase one, then it may not make much sense to limit your new car search to only vehicles with towing capabilities already. Remember that no matter which car you purchase there are updates you can make in time if you’d like.
It used to be that you could spend hours driving from car lot to car lot to look at their inventory, but thanks to the advent of the internet you can save a lot of time seeking out specific cars. Don’t waste your time visiting places that don’t have what you’re looking for.
Be A Car Detective
Once you have found one or two cars you are really interested in that is when you need to put your excellent detective skills to the test. Get on Kelley Blue Book and get a thourough idea of how much the car is worth. If their suggested price range is wildly different than what is listed on the car that is a great indicator that something is up, giving you a chance to ask questions.
Getting a detailed report of a car’s history is a great option. You can use the car’s VIN (vehicle identification number) to get the CarFax report for a nominal fee and you can also ask the dealship for the matience history if they have one. Red flags include major accidents or water damage from a flood.
It’s also a great idea to check the make and model of a car you are interested in to see if it may have been involved in a manufacturer’s recall for any parts. It is very easy to do if you have the VIN, just visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website. The more information you have about the car the better equiped you will be to make a decision on which car to buy.
See It In Person
After you decide a car meets your needs on paper, it’s time to see if it meets your needs in person. There is no better way to make that happen than to go for a test drive. Before you even turn the car on, take a walk around the car and check it closely. Do all the doors (including the trunk) seem to open and close easily? If not, that could be a sign of a problem.
Do all the tires match? If they don’t ask why some tires have been replaced and others haven’t. While getting new tires is an easy task, you may not want to buy a car that is going to need tires sooner than later. Or maybe you’ve got a specific tire you’d prefer and you don’t mind at all replacing them. Either way is fine as long as you understand this prior to purchase.
Once you get into the car, check not only that you can adjust the seat to a comfortable spot for you to drive but if you could also ride as a passanger comfortably. Most people have a companion riding with them at some point or another so considering their comfort is great. Also, be sure to check that every seat belt is in good working condition with no fraying or damage.
If you are planning on installing car seats in your vehicle it’s a smart move to bring them along to be sure they fit properly and can be installed easily and safely. Especially if you have a rear-facing seat, make sure that the back of the car seat doesn’t touch the back of the driver or passenger seat for everyone’s safety.
Go For A Drive
If a car passes a visual inspection then it’s time to get those wheels in motion. Find out if the car turns on easily and doesn’t make any strange noises while it is idling. As you put the car in gear make sure it does so smoothly and then beging your drive. Plan a specific route for your test drive, if you’re in a familiar area, drive a path you take on a regular basis.
Be sure during your test drive you try the car at different speeds to engage all the different gears so you can be certain the car is mechanically sound. Drive on different surfaces if those are a regular part of your everyday life especially. You wouldn’t want to find out too late the car doesn’t drive well on gravel roads.
As you’re driving use all of your senses to be sure that nothing looks, sounds, feels, or smells funny so you aren’t left with a bad taste in your mouth. You will probably have a good idea whether or not you want the car after you’ve taken it for a drive but if you’re still not sure or the car doesn’t seem to be as exciting as you were expecting then take your time.
A test drive doesn’t obligate you into buying the car so if you feel hesitant in your car buying experience, trust your gut and take more time to find a car that you really love. If there are red flags during your test drive that also doesn’t have to rule the car out either. You can see if you can repair it or fix it up prior to purchase.
When you break down the car buying process into simple steps and spend some time figuring out the right car for you, you will get a great deal on your new car. In fact, you can get a great deal no matter what the price because it is the car you’ve spent time researching and choosing out of all the cars in all the dealership.
Remeber that value is completely subjective. If you love a car it’s going to be a deal regardless because you can’t put a price on the emotional reaction the car brings you. So long as you’ve spent time researching and investigating, followed by a test drive, you can be sure your new car is a great deal.