Home Cars Car Shopping 101: 5 Tips For Buying A Vehicle The Smart Way In 2024

Car Shopping 101: 5 Tips For Buying A Vehicle The Smart Way In 2024

by Victoria Boatright

Are you dreaming of a new ride in your driveway? A few smart moves when purchasing a new vehicle can save you a lot of time and nerves. Keep reading our guide to learn how to buy a new car the smart way.

Maybe your old car just broke and needed replacement. Or maybe your family is getting bigger, and you need a more spacious car. Or, maybe you just feel the need for a change in your driveway. No matter the reason buying a new car is a big decision, and you should treat it this way.

That being said, no matter how thrilled you get at the idea of driving a new car, you need to take it slow and make sure you make a good decision. Else, you’re just going to spend a lot of money on a car that might turn out to be unsuitable for your needs.

Here are five tips for buying a car the smart way:

1. Do your research

Source: driven.co.nz

Knowledge is power, no matter what you do, but especially when you’ll be dealing with pushy, overbearing car salespeople. So, you’d better be armed with a lot of information on what you want and need best.

In other words, don’t go to a car lot without first doing your own research. Or, you may end up getting tricked or convinced that you should spend more on something that is not even what you came for.

Now, the good news is that information about, literally, any car you may have in mind is only a Google search away. Search for that car online, and you’ll get thousands of results with reviews, blogs, and images about the vehicle. What’s more, once you learn what you need about the car to know that it is suitable for your needs, make sure you also take a look at the prices online.

Pro tip: when researching new vehicles, make sure you know what you are buying it for. Is it for personal use? If so, what are your needs? Will you be commuting with this car every day or only buy it for vacation trips? Or, maybe your family is getting a new member, and you need a more spacious car? Either way, make sure you identify your needs before you decide on a vehicle type.

2. Look at both new and used cars

Source: edmunds.com

There’s nothing like the smell of a new car. The smell of leather and the fresh upholstery offer a great sensation as you drive away in your new car. Yet, this is a luxury that might cost you a lot of money.

New cars are great, sure. You’ll know for sure that when you buy a new car, it will function correctly for many years now. What’s more, you’ll also get extended insurance that you can count on in case something breaks in your new car.

However, new cars depreciate like crazy, especially in the first five years of ownership. So, if you’re not planning to hold onto the new vehicle for the long term, you’re basically throwing a lot of money out on the window.

In contrast, used cars can cost less, but they might come with several underlying problems that you’ll only discover after some time.

So, both used and new cars have pros and cons, and that’s why you should consider both options. After all, if you find the perfect car for you, it doesn’t matter whether it is gently used or a new one.

3. Figure out finances

Source: rent.com.au

So, now you have an idea of what car you need and want to buy. Yet, before starting to ask dealerships for offers, you need to figure out finances. In other words, you need to know exactly how much you can afford to pay for the new car.

If you can’t afford to pay for it, you also need to figure out your financing options. Search for car loan options and get the money you need to get your new car. MortgageHouse lending experts explain, “A car loan is pretty much like a personal loan only that you get it specifically to purchase a vehicle. Getting a loan like this allows you to purchase the vehicle you need today, and repay the money over a convenient period of time for you.”

4. Buy a car you can afford to maintain

Source: allstate.com

So, you found your dream car. That’s great! But can you afford it? Think twice before answering this question.
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when purchasing a new car is that they don’t realize that the car’s price doesn’t just mean its sticker price. You also need to take licensing, registration fees, taxes, fuel, and regular maintenance into consideration.

But, most importantly, you need to consider surprise maintenance because if the new car would suddenly break and you couldn’t afford to fix it, it means that you can’t afford the car you are thinking about buying.

A car’s sticker price is only the initial price you are paying. However, make sure you make a total that includes all the additional costs it requires to understand whether or not you can afford it.

5. Don’t be afraid to negotiate

Source: allbusiness.com

Whether it is your first car or not, buying a car is one of the biggest investments you make throughout your life. What’s more, for some of you, it may also be the investment you’ll be paying off for the next few years. So, it only makes sense to try to lower its price as much as possible.

Sure, you’ll have to handle the pushy salespeople to knock the purchase price down. Yet, it’s going to be worth it if you end up paying even a few hundred dollars less. So, make sure you walk into the dealership with confidence and negotiate the best deal you can get. Also, don’t feel bad for walking away from offers that aren’t good for you.