First-Time Car Buying Tips

First-Time Car Buying Tips
Have you finally saved up enough money to purchase your first vehicle? Or perhaps your parents are buying one for you as a graduation gift. Maybe after years of taking public transit and hitching rides with friends, you’ve decided it’s time for a car of your own. Whatever your situation may be, going car shopping for the first time can be an overwhelming experience – but it doesn’t have to be. Here are three tips that will help to make your first dealership visits easy and exciting:

  1. Do your research

With the age we are living in, virtually all the information we need is only a click away. Use the Internet to your advantage and do some serious research before heading out on your first car shopping trip. Check out the websites for all the different car brands you are interested in to see what features their various models offer and for what price. The vast majority of car company websites have a “build and price” feature that allows you to customize a vehicle to your liking and see how much it would cost to buy or lease it. If safety is your top priority, look up safety ratings, or if you have a small garage, check out the dimensions of various vehicles to see what would fit. Don’t let any information pass you by!
Also, make sure to check out third-party reviews, either on car blogs or YouTube channels. This will provide you with an unbiased opinion on the vehicle you are considering and may offer up some information not available on the company website. There are also many articles out there on the web that compare similar cars to one another which can help determine which one is the right fit for you.

  1. Take someone with you

Going on your first car-buying expedition alone is risky business. Whether it’s a family member or a friend, you will want to make sure you have someone by your side when you go to check out your options, and this person should have car-buying experience of their own. Even if you go into it well-prepared, chances are there will be questions you will forget to ask the salesman, and that’s where your shopping companion can step in to make sure all the bases are covered.
Taking someone car shopping with you will also help to prevent any impulse decisions – it’s easy to get caught up in the moment. You may be tempted to buy the sports car you fell in love with, but your friend will be there to remind you that it wouldn’t be practical to drive that in Canadian winters with your long work commute, and that an all-wheel drive SUV would be a smarter option.

  1. Shop with a budget

Shopping for your first car is like looking for a house – you will want to go into it with a strict budget in mind and not stray from that budget for risk of disappointment, or even worse, spending above your means. Take some time to go over your finances to determine what the maximum amount you feel comfortable spending is, and only look at vehicles that fit comfortably into your budget. While it may be tempting to check out a luxury sedan “just for fun,” doing so will only result in heartbreak. Buying your first car is a big financial commitment, and it’s important to keep that in mind throughout the whole process.
Bonus tip: Wear comfortable shoes! Test driving in high heels or loose flip flops will not only be uncomfortable, but it also won’t give you an accurate idea of how you feel driving the car.