Tips for Buying Your First New Car

When you’re looking to buy a new car in Memphis, Tennessee, you’ll find plenty of options around. If this is your first new car, you might feel overwhelmed by the task. However, when you keep these simple tips in mind, you can make sure you get the right vehicle to fit your lifestyle.

Determine Your Budget

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Image via Flickr by State Farm

Your first important step in buying your new car is determining how much you can afford. There are two figures you should focus on: your down payment and your monthly payment. While some dealers don’t require a down payment, the more money you can put down, the smaller your monthly payments will be. Ideally, you’d like to have a down payment of at least 20 percent.

Next, figure out your monthly income and subtract all your monthly debts. This will give you an idea of how much you can afford to spend on your car payment. Experts recommend making sure your car payment doesn’t exceed 36 percent of your gross monthly income.

Identify Your Needs and Wants

While you might have dreams of zipping down the road in a sleek convertible with the top down, it’s time to get realistic about your needs and wants. If you have a long commute, you need something fuel efficient. If you’ll be frequently traveling with several passengers, a sporty two-seater won’t work. Other options to keep in mind include safety features that are important to you, how much parking space you have, and the type of weather you usually drive in.

Consider a Used Vehicle

Once you’ve figured out your budget and what you want and need from your vehicle, you might feel like you’ve limited your choices. However, if you also include pre-owned vehicles in your search, you’ll suddenly find you have plenty of other options. For added peace of mind, many dealerships offer certified pre-owned vehicles. These vehicles must have low mileage, pass a multipoint inspection, and typically come with extended warranties and roadside assistance.

Take the Vehicle for a Test Drive

After you have a list of cars you like, the best way to find out if they’re right for you is to take them for a test drive. During the test drive, make sure you check out the blind spots and get a feel for the vehicle’s accelerating, braking, and handling. Also see how it feels to parallel park the vehicle. Finally, pay attention to how much cabin noise you hear while you’re driving.

Know Your Financing Options

When you finally narrowed it down to the perfect vehicle, it’s time to consider your financing options. Along with financing that the dealer offers, you should also check with local banks and credit unions to see what type of options they have available. When you have several options to choose from, you know you’ll be getting the best terms possible.

When you’re ready to go buy your first car, these helpful tips will make sure you don’t feel overwhelmed by the process and help you find the perfect vehicle.