The Unofficial Car Buying Process

When you want to buy a car you should take a moment to think about some questions such as:
What do you use your car for?
How many people do you need to transport?
What kind of driving do you most often do?
How long is your commute?
Meanwhile keep your budget in mind or you'll have to go car shopping again soon.

Research the car models: do you prefer manual or automatic transmission?
Need four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive?
What safety features do you want?
Do you require a lot of cargo-carrying capacity?
Will you be doing any towing?
Will the car easily fit in your garage or parking area?
Regardless of whether you decide to buy or lease your next car, establishing a realistic monthly payment that will fit into your budget is a crucial first step. How much should this be? A rule of thumb is that your total monthly car payments — whether you own one car or more than one — shouldn’t exceed 20 percent of your monthly take-home pay.

Check your financial status to help you estimate what your monthly payment will be based on purchase price, down payment, interest rate and length of loan. Take the time to run the numbers now, before you go car shopping, print out the result and put this information into your car-buying folder. It will not only show you what you can afford, it will also help you control the numbers when you negotiate with a car salesman.

By completing these steps, you should now have a good idea about what car will work for you. Maybe there are a few cars that fit your criteria. It’s time to narrow it down.

Car buyers have been trained to visit local dealerships to find the car they want. In the Internet age, this is a waste of time and money. You can quickly cover more ground by shopping on-line. Car dealers are waking up to this new breed of shopper and have created Internet departments within their dealerships to serve the educated buyer who already knows what he wants and what he’s willing to pay. The only thing you have to do in person are test drive the car and sign the contract. And in some cases, you can even have the car “delivered” to you by the salesperson
he goal of a test drive is to experience — as closely as possible — the same type of driving conditions the car will be used for after purchase. If you commute, drive the car in both stop-and-go traffic and at freeway speeds. If you frequently drive into the mountains, try to find some steep grades to climb. Drive over bumps, take tight corners at aggressive (but not dangerous) speeds and test the brakes in a safe location, such as a deserted parking lot. Get in and out of the car several times and be sure to sit in the backseat, especially if you plan on carrying passengers. In short, ask yourself what it will be like to live with this car for a number of years.

While you are evaluating the car, don’t be distracted by the salesperson’s pitch. Don’t drive with the radio on — you can evaluate that later. A new car is a big investment; make sure you spend enough time really looking at it. And then, consider one last thing: your intuition. If you are uneasy about this car, follow your instincts. A vehicle purchase decision is too important (and expensive) to undertake without total confidence.

At this point you should have considered all the cars in the class that interest you. You should have a good idea what you can afford. You should know if you want to buy or lease your next car. You should have test driven your top choices.

Now it’s time to narrow your choices down to one car and make a deal. In either case, take a moment to congratulate yourself. You have done your homework to find the right car for you. Now you can move forward with confidence.

THIS CONTENT IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THIS IS IN NO WAY GIVING ANY LEGAL ADVICE OR REPRESENTATION. THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN WAS COMPILED FROM VARIOUS ARTICLES. FOR ANY LEGAL ADVICE OR REPRESENTATION SEEK YOUR OWN LEGAL COUNSEL.