8 Top Tips for Buying Your First Car

Eight Tips for Buying Your First Car

It's an exciting time buying your first car, but you need to be prepared. Here are 8 top tips to make buying your first car a success.


1. Establish a Realistic Budget

The very first thing you should do before anything else is to establish a viable budget.

Yes, before you even think about what make, model, and year you want, you should think about your bottom dollar.

Again, your financial situation will guide you for the most part, but there is a general rule you should follow in the amount you spend.

For those that value buying a car highly, and would like to get the most out of it was possible, the maximum budget you should set is 35% of your annual income.

For those that view a car as a necessary evil, the minimum budget you should set is 10% of your annual income.

That said, it can be helpful to meet in the middle at about 20%-25% of your annual income, while also considering other costs that may come with car ownership.

2. Check Your Credit Score

Once you establish how much you are willing to spend on a car, you should check your credit score.

The better credit you have, the more likely you are to get a low-interest rate. You can also look into what someone with your credit score should be offered so that you do not end up falling into an interest-rate trap.

3. Secure Financing

As you take your time establishing a budget and checking your credit score, also begin to explore your financing options.

It is very important that you make as much of a down payment as possible, as this will ultimately lead to less than you have to pay for later.

Moreover, think about different means for financing. Usually, your bank will be able to give you the best rate, and it is generally better to avoid financing directly through a dealership.

4. Research, Research, Research

This phase of buying your first car is essential and should take up the majority of your search.

After you have set the basic price your willing to pay, you can think about what make, model and year would be best for you.

Think about your needs, and what the car will be used for. This can help you decide which accessories and features are the bare minimum, and which of them can be omitted.

In your search, you should also be exploring potential dealers, and whether it would be more worth it to find a used or new car.

Though new cars can degrade in value very quickly, they are much less likely to give you problems and cost you thousands in maintenance as a used car has the potential for.

5. Consider Additional Costs

In researching and budgeting, always think about additional and recurrent costs to owning a vehicle.

The title, registration, insurance, maintenance, and gas are all things that will add up quickly, and these should not be forgotten.

You should always have a bit of saving set aside for your car in case anything goes wrong, as repairs are simply part of car ownership.

Moreover, think about maintenance fees such as regular oil changes, tire rotation, tire replacement, and even car washes when you are buying it.

6. Always Test Drive it First

Try it before you buy it, especially if it is a used car. But, even with new cars, you want to make sure you are comfortable in it.

You will also be able to examine first-hand what you might like or dislike in a vehicle, which can help you eliminate some from your list.

It will also tell you whether certain features such as those for lane detection or Bluetooth capability are important to you, or if you would rather save your money for something else.

7. Examine it Carefully

As you go through the car buying process, always examine cars very carefully. Check all the signals, the windshield wipers, and the basic mechanics of a car.

Any reputable dealer would be happy to let you go through the car thoroughly before buying unless they are hiding something from you.

Additionally, look into potential defects with the car that are common, and speak with the dealer about these. If it is used, be sure to get the complete car facts and history.

8. Trust Your Gut Instincts

All and all, take your time and trust your instincts. Its normal to feel nervous in buying your first car, but if something really feels off, it is better to wait and feel it out.

Moreover, if something seems to good to be true, it probably is. While getting the best price possible for a car should be your goal, you don't want to end up over your head with repairs.

Remember to enjoy the process, even if its stressful at times. Buying a car is a huge commitment and one of the biggest purchases you can make, and it shouldn't be taken lightly.

Choose the right car for you, and try not to let your friends, family, or the dealer get in your head amount what you want or what you can afford.

And, if you need to step away and think, do it without hesitating. If that car is the one, you will know it when it comes along.

Drive Your First Car in Style

Overall, buying your first car is a big deal. Some of us do it when we are sixteen, and some of us do it when we're forty.

Either way, it should be a fun process that you engage in responsibility, armed with knowledge.

Moreover, you should explore your financing options based on your credit score, and you shouldn't ever spend more than you can truly afford.

That said, there can be unexpected costs that arise, particularly in used cars with questionable histories.

But, this can also be avoided by choosing cars that are certified pre-owned from a dealership, rather than a stand-alone dealer.

Thinking about a Hyundai as your first car? Check out our recent article on six reasons to buy a new Hyundai for your ultimate car.

Taylor Hyundai, Auto Dealers  New Cars, Augusta, GA