Owning a car brings not only freedom, but also responsibility; so buckle up! Significant expenses are on the way like fuel, maintenance, repairs, insurance and taxes. We’re here to lay out strategies for making your first vehicle purchase as simple as possible.
Get a budget and stick with it. The money that you set aside for car expenses (i.e. down payment, monthly payments and loans) will determine your final car options. However, as a young driver, you are probably budgeting for college so it’s important to set a realistic budget.
Hands down, the best way to save money when purchasing your first vehicle is shopping the used and pre-owned market. When buying used, try to buy as new as you can from a reputable dealer. Your used car won’t be perfect but like us, you’ll be happy to have saved a few extra bucks down the line.
With a budget in mind, now comes car shopping! Practical cars are the best options – ones that minimize ownership costs and will fit your needs over the next years.
To reduce risk of purchasing a “lemon”, or a trouble-prone vehicle, identify car models that have a history of being reliable. Consumer Reports collects data on more than a million cars a year to present reliability info over the past decade.
Be sure to read online reviews of cars you’re considering from both automobile publications and owners. Weigh the options, review the different perspectives and use the feedback to highlight aspects that need extra attention. Ultimately, it’s you who will have to keep the car.
New cars are presumed to be consistent performers. However, with a used car, every car has led a different life. Some cars may have been well taken care of by previous owners while others missed tune-ups, oil changes and were potentially abused by young teens like you! The best, used cars tend to come from people you’re familiar with or somebody that will share the honest car history.
Test-drive the vehicle you’re thinking about purchasing and be sure to bring a car-savvy adult along for the ride. They’ll be able to point out things you may be missing while you’re wrapped up in the splendor of the shiny new cars. Essentially, you’re making sure that any car you purchase is in the condition claimed by the seller.
Make sure that you negotiate one element of the car buying process at a time, establish the purchase price and then move on to discussing financing if necessary. If the sellers won’t meet what you would consider a fair price for the vehicle, walk away because there are plenty of other vehicles.
Getting a good deal on the right car can take lots of patience and persistence, but the reward is worth it.