Buying a car is serious business – we can all agree on that. It’s not something you can afford to do on a daily basis, not unless you are well-off and preferably an automotive buff. That is why it’s important to pay attention to all kinds of information when embarking on a quest of this size, which is why we have prepared a list of things you should know before buying a car. Read on!
1) Determine your budget and price range
The first – and one of the most important – steps in buying a car is determining how much money you are willing and able to spend. Have in mind that you always need a clear number you can go up to regardless of whether you are paying in cash, financing or leasing. You should consider all the costs that the car price covers as well as those that would be additional – and they cannot go over your price range. Consider and save some wiggle room for any other expenses that might come up along the way, especially if you are planning on tapping out your savings to buy a car. If you are looking to finance or lease a car, make sure you have an accurate idea of how much your bi-weekly or monthly installment will be. To that effect, it’s good practice to have the option of getting pre-approved online to get an idea of what your options are.
2) Decide on the payment method
Determining the amount of money you are willing to spend on your new vehicle goes hand in hand with deciding on the payment method to utilize. If buying a car in Ontario, Canada, you can go for one of these three options:
- Outright buying: Making a big investment upfront without having to worry about making additional payments.
- Financing: Getting a loan directly from a bank, dealership or credit union to buy the full value of the car.
- Leasing: Entering into a contract with a dealership or leasing company that allows you to use the car for a set period of time in exchange for set payments and you ensuring and maintaining the vehicle.
Of course, each option has its pros and cons:
3) Consider your needs
The car you wish to buy must reflect your needs or the specific purposes you are buying it for. A student or a young professional with limited finances might want to go for fuel efficient or used cars while they get established. On the other hand, a family needs more space, so they are more likely to go for a spacious vehicle – an SUV, for instance. Buying a car is a type of long-term commitment, so you need to make sure it fits your needs, plans and overall lifestyle. That way you will be saving yourself a headache down the road by buying a vehicle that won’t cost you too much in fuel or have insufficient seating space.
4) Research car makes and models
Once you have a budget in mind, it will be a lot easier to see what kind of vehicle is available within the range – what makes and models are to your liking. You might like your neighbor’s BMW, but don’t let that sway you if you can’t afford it. Personal preferences based on previous experience have proven to be the most accurate way of choosing a vehicle to buy. However, if you are a first-time buyer, you need to do your research. Nowadays, it’s all about the Internet and Social Media – youngsters like to use these tools to find their new cars and show off after the purchase. This is where you can compare vehicles on criteria like price, make, model, year, fuel type, kilometers and reviews and get first-hand experiences about the total cost of ownership per brand or diesel vs. gas or even if it’s cheaper to own electric vehicles instead of fossil-fueled ones. Moreover, documenting the research you’ve done on available vehicles is a great way to stay organized and facilitate the selection process. Also, do the research on the car manufacturer and dealer to see what kind of vehicles you can expect to find where they are concerned and if the dealer is OMVIC-certified.
5) Ask questions and test drive the car
Once you start looking at the actual vehicles the dealer has to offer, inspect their physical condition – especially if you are buying a used vehicle. Check the doors, trunk, navigation system, stereo, radio and anything else you can think of for scratches, rattling, glitching, etc. Request to see its service records so that you can form your own opinion on the way the vehicle has been used and maintained. Also, ask for CarProof and Collision Records, but even if they are clean, check the car yourself for visual confirmation of it not having been damaged in an accident.
Additionally, test drive the car to see if it’s the right fit for you. Aside from making sure it’s comfortable for you and your family members, pay attention to these things:
- Idle: The car should be smooth and quiet.
- View: Make sure the view from each of the mirrors is acceptable and you have a straight line view of all dashboard gauges.
- Controls: Flip on the air, locate the turn signals and turn on the windshield wipers – everything should be easy to use.
- Handling and brakes: Make sure the car responds when you push the accelerator or brakes as cars can vary significantly in terms of sensitivity.
6) Have the car inspected
When it comes to performance and the operational condition of a car, be sure to request the vehicle you want to buy undergo a 3rd party inspection. If the dealer is reluctant to grant you the opportunity to see if the car really is in the condition they claim, it is probably safe to assume they have something to hide. In that case, whatever it is that is not working properly will become your problem after purchasing the car and make you regret ever buying it. Therefore, declare your condition of purchase – either the car is inspected by a 3rd party and proven to be in the state the dealer claims or you are walking out.
Always have in mind that the right salesperson will take care of YOUR needs when you come in to buy a car. That is the ONLY way we work here at CRS Automotive. So visit our shop in Oakville today and let us help you find the right vehicle for you!