Car buying tips

9 Steps to Help You Find Your Perfect Car

Getting a new car (or a new-to-you car) is an exciting endeavor! Whether you’re in the hunt for a new car for your growing family or if you need a new car after your trusty old clunker has finally bitten the dust, car shopping can be exhilarating but also stressful if you don’t know what you want or how to go about buying the right car for you.

So how do you find a car that you will enjoy driving while suiting your needs for years to come? Just follow our 9 steps below!

Step 1: Assess Your Needs – Sure, you might want to drive that hot red Mustang or that bright green Corvette that you saw on that car commercial the other day, but when it comes to owning a vehicle, it’s best to think practically. Think about your needs now and in the future as well. How many passengers will you be carrying with you? What type of driving will you be doing? Do you have a long commute or need a lot of cargo space? Will you be doing any towing or using children’s car seats? These are all vital questions to answer before you even begin car searching.

Step 2: Set Your Budget – Unless you plan on paying for your car with cash, you’ll have to figure out your budget and find out how much you can set aside for purchasing and paying off your car. Determine how much money you can put toward car payments each month. The general rule is no more than 20% of your monthly take-home pay.

Step 3: Consider Other Cars in the Same Class – You might have your heart and mind set on a particular car, but is it really the best car for you? In today’s ever-changing market, there are always new vehicles coming out; you might not have even considered a type that could be the best for your needs. If you have a car already in mind, search for it to see a list of similar cars in the same class. Whenever you find one that you like, get all the information on pricing, specs, features, and road tests.

Step 4: Consider the Costs of Ownership – It’s easy to look at the initial cost of the car. In fact, you might gravitate toward one car over the other because it is cheaper to buy. Be sure to figure out why that particular vehicle costs less. If two cars cost about the same to purchase, one could depreciate more quickly or could be more costly to insure and maintain.

Step 5: Start Shopping – Back in the day, when you wanted to buy a car, you had to hoof it over to the local dealership to check out their stock. Now, however, you can look at a dealership’s stock online from the comfort of your own couch. This will help you cover more ground more quickly and ultimately save you money.

Step 6: Make an Appointment – After you’ve found the car that seems right for you, it’s time to schedule an appointment with the car dealership in question! Don’t dawdle on making an appointment as cars can be gone as quickly as they are listed. Schedule a day and time that works for you and the dealership for a test drive.

Step 7: Know What to Look for In Your Test Drive – A car might seem to have everything you could ever want and dream about, but you won’t know until you test drive it. Be sure to take the vehicle out on the types of roads that you would drive during your everyday life including stop-and-go traffic and highways. Don’t be afraid to take sharper corners or drive over bumps; you need to get a good feel for the car.

Step 8: Choose Your Car – Perhaps the first car you test drive is the car for you. Maybe you need to test drive several different models and makes of cars before you settle on one. If the choice for your next car isn’t clear, try sleeping on it and deciding in the morning.

Step 9: Bring It Home – Congratulations! You’ve chosen your next new ride! Now you just need to purchase it from the dealership, sign the necessary paperwork, and take your vehicle home with you!

Don’t forget that obtaining a new vehicle means getting an updated auto insurance policy. Stop by our office or call us at 1-800-766-MMIC to get your auto insurance policy updated after you purchase your vehicle! We’ll take care of all the details to ensure that your new car is totally insured.