General Buying Information

Car Buying Guide for Beginners


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If you haven't bought a car before, it can be intimidating to start shopping if you don't have a guide to help you buy a car. With the amount of car make and model options that are available, it can often feel like finding a needle in a haystack. But even the most inexperienced car shopper can get a great deal on a car that fits their budget and their needs.

Here is a guide to help drive you toward a great deal:

  • Do Your Homework: The days of car sales staff telling you every nuance of a car are long gone. The best way to insure you get the car you want is to ask yourself some tough questions. What size car do you want? Is gas mileage a concern? How many passengers do you need to carry? Is trunk space important? Once you've determined the basics, head to the Web. Before you buy a car, be sure to go to the automakers' Web sites. There you will often find comparison charts that guide you to consider various models which you might not have been aware.

  • Fine Tune Your Choice: As you browse various models on automakers' Web sites, pay close attention to what features are "standard" and what require extra costs. For example, many cars today have rear cameras. A few models make them standard but many automakers charge extra for them. Still other automakers make it nearly impossible to install such technology is various models. It's important to understand what features are "must haves" to you. Another example is MP3 capability. You'll find that audio options vary widely so if audio systems are important to you, be sure to read the details of what's available, costs extra, and isn't feasible to add.

  • Set a Budget: It's no secret that many consumers buy cars they can't afford. That's why it's important to work your budget before you buy. The days of zero-percent financing is over at many automakers except for cars that are slow moving. So even if your credit rating is excellent, don't plan on a bargain financing rate. Plan your budget with that in mind.

  • Talk to the sales staff: Today's dealers want long-term relationships with customers. Dealers want customers not only to service their cars at the dealership but also recommend them to friends and return themselves for future purchases. Dealers have accepted that the best way to make sales and forge relationships is to work with consumers to help them choose cars they want. Take your paperwork and don't be shy about asking your salesperson to guide you through the process toward a car that suits your needs.

  • Shop Around: Don't assume that one dealership is representative of all. Different dealerships offer different incentives and also have different models available. So shop to be sure you buy what you want.

  • Don't Rush: Don't be rushed. Take your time at the dealership and return as often as necessary to ensure you have chosen the car you want to purchase. If the car is sold, remember that there are always new cars coming into the dealership so don't despair. You will find the car you want and can afford.

Buying your first car can be an exhilarating process. In order to ensure that you walk away with a car that you are happy with and that lasts a long time, make sure to follow the steps provided above. While this may not be the last car you purchase during your life, it will always be your first!

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