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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Five Tips For Buying Your First Car

Your first car will probably be your largest purchase to date, which makes it the most important financial decision of your life thus far. It’s important to choose a car that fits your budget without sacrificing quality or safety.

Consider these factors when buying your first car:

1. Be realistic

Most people don’t start out by buying a luxury car. Set a realistic budget, and stick to it. If you can afford it, pay for the entire car upfront with cash. If you’ve managed to save enough or are lucky enough have a windfall to spend, you can avoid car payments and just calculate your budget for gas, insurance, and maintenance. Think about whether you need any extra features, like an extended warranty or special detailing, and skip those options if you find them unnecessary or can’t afford them.

2. Shop for auto insurance

Most states requires auto insurance. Usually they only require just liability insurance, which covers damages and injuries to the other driver if you’re at fault. But you might want to purchase comprehensive coverage if you’re buying a newer vehicle so that you’ve covered in case of damage.

3. Find a co-signer

If you’re in your early 20s or younger, it’s possible that you will need a co-signer to get a car, because you won’t qualify for a loan on your own due to a lack of credit history. Having a co-signer might also help you get lower interest rates and better terms. But remember that if you fail to make your payments, the co-signer will be legally responsible for the cost. Make sure you have enough to make your monthly payments. A co-signer also share legal liability if you are involved in an accident.

4. Double-check used cars

Used cars are cheaper for a reason: They tend to have more wear and tear. That’s why you need to be extra careful when choosing one. Check the following:

Find out the vehicle’s history via Carfax or a similar source.
Carefully read the dealer’s return policy.
Make sure the mileage disclosures match the odometer reading on the car.

See if the car has any recalled parts or safety defects by checking the NHTSA’s online database by using the car’s vehicle identification number (VIN). If you see that there were recalls made on parts of the car, ask the seller for proof that the repairs were done.

Have an inspection done by an independent mechanic before you buy.

5. Bring a friend

If you’re intimidated by the thought of a high-pressure salesman or you’re worried you’ll lock self-control, you should strongly consider bringing someone with you. A mechanic friend would be an ideal choice, but even an experienced car-buyer like a parent may be highly useful. He or she can help you remember details about the car, figure out whether you’re getting a fair deal, and notice pros and cons you might miss.

Your first car should be a reliable vehicle that fits within your budget. With this in mind, set a realistic limit and stick with it. Also, shop for insurance beforehand, so you know whether you can actually afford the car you choose. Keep safety in mind as well, especially when shopping for a used car.