SHOPPING FOR YOUR NEXT CAR? HERE’S 8 CRUCIAL QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF
You’re in the market for a new or used car, but you don’t know where to start. Fortunately, the key to shopping for a new or used car is knowing what to ask yourself – and the salesperson – before you start browsing online or in person. Before you buy, you’ll want to remember these important questions:
Should I Buy or Lease?
That depends on how long you plan to keep your new vehicle. If you plan on keeping your vehicle for less than three years and want to update to the latest in styling, performance and technology, then leasing is a no-brainer. Leasing is also a great move if you don’t want to deal with long-term maintenance hassles. With a lease, however, you’re usually limited to a certain number of miles each year.
If you plan on racking up lots of miles due to a lengthy commute or frequent road trips or simply want to hold on to your next vehicle for a while, then buying your car is the way to go.
What Car Best Fits My Needs (or Desires)?
Knowing what you want most from your car will help narrow down your search. Do you have a large family and regularly take your kids (and their friends) to school and soccer practice? Do you need a vehicle that offers great payload and towing capabilities? How about something that can easily handle off-road trails? Whatever your needs are, there’s bound to be a vehicle that’ll meet them with ease.
Or maybe you want to have a little fun with your next car purchase, whether you have an eye for a two-seat roadster or a four-door sedan that still offers the exterior swagger and high performance you’re craving.
Do I Need or Want the Latest and Greatest of Tech Features?
You’ll find a broad array of tech features in nearly every car currently on the market – even the smallest and least expensive vehicles are packed with digital technology. Some of these tech features are actually quite handy to have – driver-assistive features like automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and other crash mitigation technologies are designed to make your drive safer.
You’ll also find the latest infotainment features on offer, but that also depends on the trim level. Higher trims are bound to have more features with a greater level of sophistication. However, some of these features can be distracting if you’re an older driver or a driver who’s simply not used to touchscreens and other modern tech features.
What Kind of Warranty Does the Car Come With?
Anything can happen to your new ride, which is why you’ll want a solid warranty that covers a broad range of unexpected issues. Otherwise, you could end up paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars out of your own pocket for surprise repairs. The vast majority of car manufacturers offer basic and powertrain warranties that last for up to 3 years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. Some manufacturers offer longer warranties with some lasting for the entire life of the vehicle.
Are There Service Records Available?
If you’re shopping for a used car, then you’ll definitely want to know its backstory. A well-maintained used car should also come with a comprehensive service history detailing the scheduled maintenance it had throughout its life, along with any minor or major repairs that were performed during the previous ownership. Beware of any used car with spotty service records or no records at all.
How Will I Pay for My Latest Purchase?
When it comes to signing on the bottom line for your next car, there are plenty of ways to do it. If you have the money saved up and on hand, for instance, you can pay for your new car in cash. Cash purchases are relatively rare for brand-new vehicles, but are more common for used vehicles under $10,000.
Financing is a popular way of purchasing a new or used car and a great way to buy if using cold, hard cash is out of the question. You can use the dealership’s financing or arrange your own through your bank or credit union. Keep in mind that your financing options can vary greatly depending on your credit score. The higher your FICO score, the better interest rates you’ll get for your purchase.
Are There Any Discounts or Rebates Available?
Good deals are never hard to find when shopping for a new vehicle. Find out about any current or upcoming sales and don’t hesitate to take advantage of manufacturer and dealer rebates and incentives. If you find the vehicle you want, only to see a similar vehicle at another dealership at a lower price, the first dealer may agree to match the lower price.
Do I Need Delivery?
If you’re buying a car from a dealer that’s more than an hour away from where you live, the dealer may be able to deliver the vehicle to your driveway at little to no cost to you. Keep that in mind as you broaden your search for a new vehicle to outlying areas.