7 Car Buying Considerations for New Car Shoppers

7 Car Buying Considerations for New Car Shoppers


Smart tips when shopping for a new car.

If you’re in a position to buy a new car, there are seven car buying considerations to weigh before you make your purchase. These considerations can help you find the right car at the right price and enable you to enjoy the vehicle you want, rather than the one you must settle for.

1. Know your budget — Your eyes may say Lexus, but your budget may be Toyota, perhaps Scion. Base your purchase decision upon the car you can afford, not the one that is financially out of reach. Base your purchase decision on the amount of money you can put down, your monthly payments and other factors such as taxes, license, fees and insurance.

2. Get an insurance quote — Speaking of auto insurance, contact your insurer to obtain a quote for the car you are considering purchasing. Don’t wait until you signed your contract to buy — find out what your insurance will be and whether you can afford the higher premium.

3. Find a loan — You can get a loan through the manufacturer’s financing arm or you can seek a loan on your own. With the latter option, you can compare rates and secure the lowest rate possible. That way, you’re given a choice between a rebate or discounted financing, you can take the rebate and seek financing elsewhere. Advise Liz Pulliam Weston, “…if you can’t pay cash for your next car, you should make a down payment of at least 20%, finance the balance for four years or less and make sure the resulting payment is no more than 10% of your gross income.” [1]

4. Shop around — The Internet has made car shopping easy. No longer are you confined to shopping for cars in your town or geographic area, but you can buy a car anywhere across the country, even abroad. If you don’t find the car you want in your area, check inventories of dealers elsewhere. This ensures that you’ll get the car you want instead of having to settle for something less.

5. Look for discounts — Besides standard rebates, there may be other discounts you can take before buying your car. Recent college graduate, military service and owner loyalty discounts are some that may be available. Your employer may also have a tie-in with a manufacturer or local dealer; check your work benefits carefully.

6. Take a test drive — An extended test drive may be the only way for you to know for certain if a particular car meets your requirements. A three- or four-mile loop surrounding the dealership may give you an idea of what you want, but it may not be enough to help you make your decision. Bring along the family, fold seats up and down, turn on the a/c, music and activate the DVD player. The Motley Fools advises new car buyers to “ask a lot of questions” and don’t take everything that the salesman has to say as “gospel truth.” [2]

7. Entertain multiple offers — Shopping online allows you to solicit quotes from several dealerships. Obtain at least three and then compare what you’re getting. If trading in a vehicle, you want to ensure that you get top dollar for your trade in without paying too much for your new vehicle. Armed with the right information you can make a smart, money saving purchase decision.

Lastly, take your time making your purchase decision. Don’t buy based on emotion and be prepared to walk away from any deal that is essentially a bad deal for you.


[1] MSN Money; A Car Payment is Not a Fact of Life; Liz Pulliam Weston; June 18, 2010

[2] The Motley Fool: The Test Drive



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About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".