7 Car Buying Tips for Finding the Right Vehicle
Whether you're new to buying a car or haven't purchased one in a long time, it can be hard to know where to begin!
All it really takes is a little research and planning to find the right new or used car for your lifestyle. And that's key. Your research will determine whether buying a new car, a pre-owned vehicle, or leasing is right for you.
Let's take a closer look.
Assess Your Lifestyle Needs
What's "right" for you depends on what you expect your vehicle to do for you. Are you a person who likes practicality in a car? Do you want a vehicle that meshes with an outdoorsy lifestyle? Do you need a vehicle with lots of cargo space? Have a family?
Think about what works for you, and ask yourself these questions:
• Is fuel economy important?
• Do you need an all-wheel drive vehicle?
• Are there certain "must-have" features like backup camera, Apple CarPlay, leather seats, that you want?
• What safety features are important?
• What kind of cargo capacity do you need?
• Will you need to use children's car seats?
• How much parking or garage space do you have?
These kinds of questions will get you thinking more deeply about what you really need from a vehicle.
Set Your Budget
If you're financing your car, you'll need to set a budget of what you can afford each month. The general rule of thumb is that your car payment shouldn't exceed 15% of your monthly take home pay.
If you're leasing, make it less than 10% of your take home pay. Don't forget to factor in fuel and insurance costs too. To get you started, check out Edmunds' auto affordability calculator. It's a great tool!
Lease or Buy?
Leasing and buying each have their own pros and cons. The question is which one is right for you? Leasing allows you to drive a more expensive car for less money.
Most repairs are covered under the factory warranty and you won't have to hassle with trade-ins. Buying a car means there are no mileage penalties and you can modify the car to your own tastes.
What's more, car expenses will be lower in the long run if you keep the vehicle for a long time. Again, it comes down to lifestyle choices.
Costs of Ownership
Some cars are cheaper to buy upfront but then are most expensive to own. Will the car you want to buy depreciate more quickly? Will it cost more to maintain and insure?
Before you make the financial commitment, make sure you do yourself a favor and estimate the long term ownership costs.
Finding Cars for Sale
It's not difficult to find cars for sale these days. And you don't have to go to a dealership first. You can browse Joe Bowman used cars online as well as our new cars, trucks, and SUV's.
Find what you want then come in and test drive it at our Harrisonburg Chevrolet dealership. All of our used vehicles must pass a 75-point inspection or they will not be listed for sale. Plus, we back up our used car commitment with either a 30 or 90-day warranty.
There are many cars offered for sale privately as well. You'll want to thoroughly do your research on the vehicle and get it checked out by your mechanic to ensure it is in good condition.
Take it for A Test Drive
We recommend that you test drive at least three different vehicles. Why limit your options to just one car? Schedule an appointment or several appointments for test driving. This will make your car comparison much easier.
When you do a test drive, try to re-create the same conditions you would have in everyday life. Are you a commuter? In-city driver? Try to test drive for those situations.
Also, be sure to listen to the engine, see how the vehicle handles on bumps, tight corners, and test the brakes.
Finally, after driving several vehicles, the choice should be clear. If it isn't, then sleep on it! It's way better to take a little longer to get the right car than to experience buyer's remorse.
If you're looking for a quality used car, truck, or SUV, please visit our website, www.joebowmanautoplaza.com. Or stop in to see us. Our knowledgeable and experienced staff will be happy to help you!