When you decide that you want to treat yourself to a new car, it can often take a while to find the perfect one.
Since it’s one of the largest purchases you can make, alongside buying a house, you can’t rush into it. You need to spend time searching around for the right model for your needs and preferences.
What makes it even more difficult is the unbelievable range of different models that are now available on the market. And even once you have found the right model, there are so many additional factors to consider, such as the color, size, and any additional features and gadgets.
Despite buying a car being a large and complex decision, there are some simple steps that you can follow to make the process much easier.
In this article, we will run through everything that you need to consider when choosing the perfect car.
Choose Where to Buy From
When you are choosing where to buy your brand-new or second-hand car, you have a few different purchasing options. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, which I discussed below.
Your options are:
- Car dealerships
- Private sellers
- Independent sellers
- Car supermarkets
Car dealerships are usually linked to certain car manufacturers. For example, you might find a Toyota car dealership in Utah that, unsurprisingly, specializes in selling Toyota models.
The car dealers who work in the showroom are usually experts in one specific manufacturer. This can be extremely helpful when you want in-depth advice about a specific car before making a purchase.
Car dealerships usually have great deals and reasonable prices, so they are a great option if you are shopping on a budget.
A private seller is somebody who is selling a car that they legally own. When purchasing from a private seller, you can usually negotiate for a cheaper price.
However, there is a risk of the seller not disclosing any known faults in the car. Once you’ve signed the dotted line, the transaction is irreversible and you will now legally own the car, faults or no faults.
Independent sellers usually have a variety of different models for sale at any one time. Unlike car dealerships, they are not tied to one specific car manufacturer. You may be able to negotiate for a cheaper price but this will depend on each individual seller.
The final option is buying from a car supermarket.
Car supermarkets offer a wide variety of different models at reasonable prices. If you have no idea which type of car you want, you will be able to compare lots of different car models side-by-side.
Determine Your Budget
Your budget is probably the number one limiting factor when it comes to deciding which car to buy. This is why it’s extremely important that you set your budget prior to making any decisions.
If you have enough savings to buy a car in full, then determining your budget will be pretty easy. However, if you are considering getting a car on finance, make sure you take your long-term finances into consideration.
A great rule of thumb is to avoid buying a car where the repayments exceed 15% of your monthly income. This might not sound like very much but you also have to consider the cost of ownership.
The cost of ownership in close all of the payments associated with being the owner of a car. This includes the cost of running the car, including filling up the tank with fuel, insurance, MOTs and service checks, and the cost of any repairs or replacements.
Setting your budget in detail before buying your car insured that you don’t run into any financial issues further down the line.
Arrange a Test Drive
Once you have found a car that you like the look of, make sure to arrange a test drive with the seller or dealership.
Your test drive will enable you to get a feel for how the vehicle drives and this is important in finding the perfect car for your needs. It will also help you to identify any major problems with the car that might not have previously been disclosed.
Usually, the seller or car dealer will sit with you during the test drive as they will be insured on the vehicle. If they have a couple of vehicles for sale that you are interested in, you can arrange two or three back-to-back test drives.
Use the time that you are on the roads wisely and ask the seller or car dealer lots of questions about the vehicle. Aim to get as much information as you can so that you can make an informed decision on whether or not to buy the car.
If you aren’t clued up on the ins and outs of a car’s mechanics, it can be difficult knowing what to look out for during your test drive.
Here are some key things to look out for as you drive the vehicle:
- Check how the car drives over bumps or potholes
- See how responsive the wheels are when you’re making sharp turns
- Test the effectiveness of the brakes and make sure that the car doesn’t veer to the side when you apply the brakes
- Check that the seats are able to move back and forth, and ensure they aren’t damaged or scratched
- Listen out for any unusual noises coming from the engine as you drive
- Check that the stereo system works
Make Your Decision
If you are happy with the vehicle after the test drive, your decision is now made! But if you are still a little unclear as to which vehicle you want after doing the test drive, don’t rush into any decisions.
Once you have found the perfect model of car that suits your preferences and needs, or you need to do is sign on the dotted line. After making the full payment or deposit for the vehicle, you will need to arrange insurance so that you can legally drive the car.
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