Is it time for a new vehicle? Have you milked just about as many miles as you can from your car? Or perhaps you have a little extra cash and feel you can afford a new set of wheels. Ask yourself these Sherpa questions before you fall in auto-love.
Identify your needs:
- Is the cost of a gallon of gas a concern for you? What about buying an electric car?
- Will you need to drive in snow or ice?
- What can you afford monthly for a payment? Don’t forget the cost of insurance. Call your insurance company for a quote on insurance. Did you know that the Tesla Model S was the most expensive car to insure in 2019 (according to USA Today)?
- Will you fit comfortably? Is there room for your stuff?
- Do you need to haul things/people/pets around?
- How important is a reliable car to you? Hint: It should be more important than the looks of the car. You will want to drive the car for many trouble-free years.
Other things to consider:
- If buying a new car, look at buying at the end of the year. Dealers are anxious to clear their lots for new models coming in. Salesman are also more willing to deal on the last day of the month as they get a monthly commission check. It works!
- Check out certified pre-owned models. They have been inspected and come with a warranty.
- Line up your financing. Get pre-approved for a loan by talking to your bank. Rates will be less than what dealers offer you.
- How safe is the car you are considering? Check ratings.
- Are you trading in your old vehicle? Know the value of it. Typically, you will be better off financially if you sell your old car privately.
- After you determine what you want, email several dealers for their best price or use one of the many on-line car buying services offered by Costco, Consumer Reports or others or do a combination of both. You will be amazed at what prices they will offer.
- If you buy from a private party, have a mechanic check out the vehicle before you purchase. It is worth the $100 it costs you. Also get a Carfax vehicle history report – it will tell you owners, locations, and any accidents the car has been in.
Take a Hike:
Next time you are ready to buy a new car. Use this car buying checklist. It will save you money and frustration down the road.
Falling in auto-love with a gas guzzler can cost you at the pump. So can buying a sports car as your insurance will run you more. You should look at reliability ratings for the year and model car you are buying. Having an unreliable car is expensive and inconvenient. While you might love the look of that Fiat 500 it was one the worst rated cars for reliability. It’s ok with us, but we just want to point it out now rather than have that “I told you so look” later. It’s a good idea to have the sales person or the current owner go over all of the car features before leaving. And check your trunk for a spare tire. Some cars don’t come with a spare tire. Can you believe it? Better to know now than on a dark rainy night when the tire gives out.
Car insurance is part of this process so drive through Understanding Car Insurance.