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Ultimate Car Buying Guide

buying carBuying a car involves plenty of details and variables. It shouldn’t be stressful though. Instead, it should be a path to owning a vehicle you can rely on. You should feel good about what you get, the price, and what you can expect from that vehicle. Take your time, complete research, and ask plenty of questions. Don’t be intimidated by the process, be cautious and move forward at a pace you are happy with.

New or Used Vehicle?

Are you in the market for a new or used vehicle? There are pros and cons to each type of purchase. With a new vehicle, it typically includes a warranty. It feels good to drive something no one else has owned before. You don’t have to worry about how the vehicle was cared for or wonder if it was involved in an accident. However, a new vehicle costs significantly more than a used one.

There are plenty of wonderful used vehicles out there! They still look amazing and drive well. They cost much less than paying for a new one. Many consumers go this route to buy their first vehicle. They may like the idea of paying upfront for one instead of financing it. Many dealerships do finance used vehicles, and the payment is less than a new one. You have to decide what is right for your circumstances and your budget.

Buy from a Private Seller or a Dealership

Do you wish to buy from a private seller or a dealership? It is a personal choice. If you buy from a private seller, be diligent. Make sure you pay them in a method that can be traced. Verify they have the title and they complete a bill of sale. Test drive the vehicle and ask to take it to a certified shop for an inspection you pay for.

Be aware of used car scams from private sellers. Never send anyone money to hold a vehicle for you. There is a good chance you will never hear from them and they disappear with your money. Never pay a private seller in cash as you don’t have any way to verify how much you paid them or when. Always test drive any vehicle before e you buy it.

A dealership will have more selection, but not everyone is a fan of sales pitches. They don’t like the haggling that takes place at a car dealership. If you go with a dealership, look for recommendations from friends or family members. You can get feedback from consumers online too.

What Type of Vehicle are you Interested in?

What type of vehicle are you shopping for? Do you need a sedan to get back and forth to work or for the family? Do you need something larger such as a mini-van or SUV? Perhaps you would love to get a sports car, something with plenty of power and everyone turns their head to see! Your plans for the vehicle and your preference will influence what you seek.

Price Range

How much can you afford to spend on a vehicle? This is important to know before you start to shop for one. Don’t let your emotions attach you to a vehicle you can’t afford. Don’t let a fast-talking sales pitch get you in over your head. If you will pay a certain amount for a used car, what is the limit? If you will finance, what is your maximum amount? What is the highest monthly car payment you can reasonably make?

Your credit score and your downpayment influence the deal you get on a vehicle you finance. If you have poor credit or no credit, your interest is higher and your payments are higher. If you have good or excellent credit, you qualify for a better rate. The more you put down on the vehicle, the less you owe interest on and that saves you money overall.

Think about the cost of insurance on the vehicle you select too. Sometimes, it can be very high because of the type of vehicle or your age. Vehicles with additional safety features tend to have lower interest rates. You can get free quotes for insurance for a certain make and model of vehicle before you buy it. This is recommended so you aren’t blown away by the cost of the insurance.

It doesn’t hurt to try to negotiate the price either. If a private seller is sure you will buy it at a lower price, they may be inclined to agree. They want to get that vehicle off their hands, and it gives you some power to work with. If they don’t accept your offer, they can counteroffer or stand firm on their asking price. You can walk away or you can give them their asking price once you tried to negotiate.

You can strive to negotiate at a dealership too. The prices they have on the vehicles aren’t set in stone. They often have some wiggle room. Don’t show them the emotional side of your excitement if you really want a vehicle. Ask them what the best price is they can offer and if you aren’t thrilled with it, thank them for their time and tell them you will think about it. As you turn to leave, they may toss another offer out!

Perks and Extras

As you shop around for a vehicle to buy, you will notice perks and extras. They can increase the price of the vehicle. Yet some of those perks and extras are nice to have. For example, heated seats can be wonderful during the harsh winter months. Some vehicles offer more speed or more traction than others. Evaluate the safety features on a vehicle too. That is often a huge selling point, especially for families. They want their children to be safe while riding in that vehicle.


New vehicles tend to come with a warranty, but there are limits to what is covered. The timeframe of coverage will also vary. Used vehicles may have a limited warranty or the remainder of a manufacturer warranty can be transferred to the new owner. Many used vehicles are sold without any warranty on them. If you buy one of them, make sure you get a Carfax and a certified inspection before you buy them. This will reduce your risk that the vehicle has any underlying issues you weren’t aware of at the time you made the purchase.