Many young drivers are given a starter vehicle either in high school or in college. Others may purchase a first car with the assistance of a parent as a co-signer on a loan. However, now that you are older and better established, you may be ready to purchase your first car entirely independent of your parents. This can be a monumental event in adulthood, but it also can affect your finances, your safety on the road and many other factors. If you are prepared to start shopping for your next vehicle, follow these three steps to move toward your goal.
Get Prequalified for an Auto Loan
The first step to take before you begin looking for a new vehicle is to line up financing. Through the auto loan prequalification process, you can learn what the maximum loan amount is that you can qualify for, and this can help you to narrow down your search to only vehicles that you can afford. Remember that the maximum auto loan payment that you can afford may not always be comfortable for your budget. Review your budget before moving forward, and take into account any additional expenses that may change once you start driving a new car. This may include your car insurance premium, your fuel expense and more. It’s important to communicate with the bank, or a company like AutoStart, early in this process so you know what you can afford.
Research Vehicles Online
The next step to take if you want to buy a vehicle on your own is to research makes and models that are priced within your budget. Eliminate any vehicles that do not have a style that is appealing to you. Then, research the safety ratings, ownership costs, features and other factors for each vehicle that may influence your decision. When you take these important steps, you will likely be able to narrow your vehicle selection to a few top contenders.
Test Drive Multiple Vehicles
Some drivers test drive one vehicle and make an instant decision to move forward with a purchase. It is easy to fall in love with a new vehicle because of its pristine appearance and fancy features, but remember that you should test drive multiple vehicles to make a smart comparison. Never walk into a dealership with the intention or even the possibility of making an immediate purchase that day.
Remember that a vehicle purchase is a serious matter that can impact your life in many ways for at least the next few years. If you are preparing to buy a vehicle for the first time in your adult life, conduct exceptional research as you walk through these important steps.