Picking out your first car

Your ride is late, again, and you are just about ready to buy your own car. But which one should you choose? Should it be new or used? Can you afford the payment?

When it comes to picking out your first car there will be many to choose from. However, there are quite a few important points to consider; not just your level of frustration. Before you head out to the local car dealership here are a few good pointers.

The first thing to consider is your financial situation. You must review all parts of your finances. Your income and expenses should be looked at very carefully. This is going to determine what section of the car lot you should be hanging out in.

When you are ready to approach the dealer or private seller, keep in mind what you are able to pay. Be prepared to negotiate the monthly payment close to or below your acceptable monthly payment. You don’t want to set yourself up for something you can’t pay for.

Once you’ve reviewed your finances take time to see what’s available. Both new and used cars can be accessed from the dealer’s website, classifieds, or car auctions. Each one of these avenues has a different method of payment that they require.

As you survey the websites, auctions or car lots pay attention to the specifications of the cars you look at. Safety, fuel efficiency, and costs are very important. These should take rank before you choose a color or the sound system. Also think about the car’s transmission. Is it automatic or manual and which one can you drive? Many manufacturer websites offer detailed specification tables on all aspects of their cars from the colors available to the physical measurements of the car.

There are many makes and models on the market. In the current state of the economy many car dealers are offering very rich deals on the overall price of the car and extended warranties to move cars off of their lots. First time buyers may also have the ability to get a discount based on the fact that this will be their first car purchase. You must ask the dealer. This is generally not offered automatically.

The functionality of the car you choose is another strong point. For example, if you will be travelling between home and college you’ll want to consider something with good trunk space. If your daily commute takes you far from home you’ll want to consider the fuel efficiency.

Once you’ve decided on the payment, transmission, make or model it’s time to walk the lot or the web. Now is the time to talk with the salesperson. Before you take any car off the lot for a test drive perform your own visual inspection. It is highly advisable to have a friend, family member or mechanic with you for assistance. Inspect the engine with the heater and air conditioner being on and off. Turn on the radio. Take turns sitting in all the seats and adjusting the ones in the front passenger and driver sides. Adjust the mirrors and windows. Open the trunk and take a peek. How do the tires look? Do all the exterior and interior lights work? Is there any physical damage to the exterior body or the inside upholstery? During the test drive, pay close attention to the sound of the engine, the car’s responsiveness and ride quality.

This process may take some time to work through depending on the make or model you choose and also what deals are available at the time. There’s really no need to rush through it unnecessarily. You want to make sure you are purchasing the best car for your money and situation.

If you choose to purchase a car through an auction or private sale your options are a bit more limited. Availability is not always guaranteed and the payments must be made more immediately. The cars that are for sale in these situations are usually not that flexible in price. You must also consider any physical damages with a used car. When it comes to the auctions, the more money you bring to the table at the auction, the more likely it is you will get the car you want at that time. Commercial dealerships are also likely to offer their “best deal” when you are able to make a large down payment.

After all is done, you will enjoy the freedom and independence of being a car owner!