Steps to Take to Find Your Dream Ride
Searching for a new car is a fun process with limitless possibilities. Not only do new cars have the latest in safety features and infotainment, but you also get the peace of mind knowing that your new car has never had any previous owners or accidents. Oh, and don’t forget about the great new vehicle warranty that will come with your new car. Having that kind of protection built in will have you driving off the lot with full confidence.
So, how exactly do you go about finding the perfect car for you? Do you get right to searching online, or simply pop into the nearest new car dealership?
It helps to do a little prep work first. Let’s break down the new car shopping process into some easy-to-follow steps.
Step #1 – Determine Your Budget
This step is super important because it determines what you can and cannot buy. New cars can cost a pretty penny. A brand-new S Class Mercedes, for instance, will run you close to $160,000. By comparison, a brand-new Volkswagen will typically run around $30,000 to $40,000.
Bottom line: You need to establish what your budget is, and try to stick to it. Because the majority of people aren’t buying new cars in cash, it’s safe to assume you’re looking at things from a monthly payment standpoint.
You can use what’s called a payment calculator to figure out what your monthly payment is going to be on a new car. Don’t forget to factor in sales tax, down payment, interest rate, and loan term – the number of months you’ll have to pay back your auto loan. You can also factor in your trade-in value if you plan on putting your current vehicle toward your new purchase.
Once you determine how much you can afford, you can move forward with looking at new cars for sale in Houston – or whatever city you’re in.
Step #2 – Determine Your Core Needs
Now comes the interesting part. The next step is to determine your core needs that your new car needs to fulfill. So, ask yourself, “What do I really need out of this new car?”
Do you have a really long work commute? You might look at cars with great gas mileage, or even an electric vehicle.
Do you have a large family dynamic? That puts you squarely in SUV and minivan territory.
Or is performance and speed at the top of your list? A speedy coupe might be just what you’re looking for.
Whatever the case may be, try to figure out the one or two things you absolutely need the car to do to suit your lifestyle. Narrow down the possibilities.
Step #3 – Start the Shopping Process
By now, you should know if you’re getting an SUV, a sedan, or a coupe based upon your core needs. Once you have that locked in, you can start your shopping process online.
Keep in mind, you’re going to have a lot of new cars to choose from, so you might further narrow things down by selecting a few brands that you like. You can also filter down by drivetrain, color, dealership distance, and price. You might also want to eliminate vehicles from your list if they have poor safety ratings or low owner satisfaction.
The goal here is to keep filtering down by attribute and feature until you get down to a handful of cars that are “test-drive worthy.” Once you have two or three vehicles that are in your wheelhouse, you can move forward with the next step – taking them for a spin.
Step #4 – Test Driving
Contact the dealership, and let them know you’d like to schedule a test drive for the new car you’re looking at. In most cases, you should be able to get in the day you request it.
When test driving, make sure you take the car though neighborhoods at low speeds as well as on the interstate at high speeds. You really want to get a feel for the way the car handles, accelerates, brakes, turns, and feels.
This is also a great time to go over all the safety and infotainment features. You can have your new car salesperson take you through the highlights. Most new cars have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, premium sound systems, and advanced driving and performance features.
If you find that you’re liking the way each test drive is going, the features may serve as your tie-breaker.
Step #5 – Review the Warranty and Financing Terms, Then Decide
Hopefully, you’ve narrowed things down to one or two cars you like. Make sure you review your new car warranty to see what kind of coverage you’re doing to get. Some new car warranties are much better than others.
Additionally, you’ll want to go through the financing terms and make sure that you’re getting a payment you can afford, and your interest rate and term is in line with what it should be. Remember, credit score and down payment play a factor here.
If everything checks out, you’re clear to move forward with the purchase of your new car!