5 Tips for Buying a New Car

From make and model to best time to buy a new car

The car-buying process can be overwhelming. From when to buy a new car to the best make and model for your needs, there are many things to consider before making a decision. Use these helpful tips for buying a new car to make the process a snap.

1. Car Make and Model

It’s your car. You’re going to drive it. The key to buying a new car you love is looking for a car that both meets your needs and is fun to drive.

These questions can help you find makes and models to fit your car needs:

  • Are you looking for something with ample storage room for family items or sports equipment?
  • Is a fuel-efficient, compact vehicle more your style?
  • Do you want something that makes you feel like the king or queen of the road?
  • Are you looking for something that will allow the wind to blow through your hair?

Using your answers to these questions, start making a list of vehicles you like or have been recommended. Keep your eyes open when you’re on the road to look for car makes and models you may not have considered. Search for comparisons among those makes and models to help refine your test-drive list.

Before signing on the dotted line, review these tips for buying a new car.

2. Spending and Expenses

Depending on the kind of car you want, you can spend a little or a lot. Before you finalize your list, consider your budget and set a spending limit based on your ability to pay now and in the future. Consider these questions when buying a new car:

  • How much can you afford to spend?
  • Are you putting money down?
  • What monthly payment are you prepared to make?
  • Are there any amenities you consider “must haves”?
  • Will your car insurance rates change? Hint: You can call us to get an estimate. (It’s important to factor auto insurance payments into your decision, too.)

Research the value of your current vehicle and decide whether you will trade it in or sell it privately. What you receive for a trade-in may differ from a private sale, which could affect your down payment or car payments.

3. The Car Buyer Experience

Do some digging on car dealerships in your area. Arm yourself with knowledge that’ll help you through the process of buying a new car, such as:

  • Does the dealership advertise the lowest price? Or, will they negotiate?
  • Will they include vehicle maintenance with the purchase of a new or used car?
  • Does the dealership offer auto loans/financing? What terms do they currently offer?
  • Do you prefer leasing vs. buying a car?

If you are looking to purchase through a private party, use online sites to check the seller’s rating or find whether the seller has ever been subject to complaints about items he or she has sold. Ask for details about the vehicle’s maintenance history and take it for a test drive in different kinds of weather, road and traffic conditions. For more tips on buying a new car through a private party, visit the Federal Trade Commission site.

4. Research and Resources

Thanks to endless information online, consumers have resources to encourage responsibility. A quick online search produces many results with good advice on buying a new car, including taking the time to investigate incentives and rebates geared toward first-time car buyers.

There are a number of websites dedicated to cars and the process of purchasing a new one. Explore these websites with caution to ensure they are reputable.

5. Best Time to Buy a New Car

Only you can decide on the best time to buy a new car. However, there are certain times that are better than others, like at the end of summer, at the month’s end when inventory is assessed, or at the close of the model year—even the end of the day—if you have your finances prearranged and know which car you’d like.

If you decide that your current car meets your needs, there are multiple ways to upgrade without spending too much money. For example, a good tune up and a new electronic device (like a new stereo or remote car start) go a long way toward making your current car feel new again.

If you do add any after-factory accessories or custom parts and equipment, be sure to contact your insurance company to ensure you have adequate coverage for the higher value.