Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New car basics

I've bought all of one car in my life. His name is Max, short for Maximum Speed.

Max is getting up there in years; he turned 9 this year! I was reminiscing about when I first bought him, and thought I'd post some new car buying tips that I learned when I was searching for mine!

The number one thing you should do before buying a car, is figure out how much you want to put down, and save, save, save! Look at your budget and make mock car payments to yourself until you have a decent amount. Many people suggest between 10 and 20 percent. I say 10 percent minimum, more if you can.

Then, of course, there's the decision of what kind of car you want. I'll be honest with you. When I bought my Volkswagen Beetle I didn't do any research on it aside from asking my dad for his opinion on Volkswagens. I had an idea of how much I could afford in a car payment, so when I researched cars and saw that the Beetle was within my price range, I jumped on it! Maybe I should have done more research, but I've had the car 6 years and it's 9 years old, so I think it's treated me right.

Aside from what kind of car you want, I think the biggest decision is used or new. Between my frugality and my penchant for non-consumerism, I always lean toward used. You'll want to make sure your new car is certified pre-owned, because that means it went through a myriad of tests before it even hits the lot. My car came with brand new brakes, because they needed to be replaced, for example.
You can consider an ex-lease, but I wouldn't consider an ex-rental, because no one takes care of a rental.

Most important of all, make sure you love your car! My VW Beetle is so much fun, to me. It's fun to drive, and it's fun to say I own a Beetle. It will be my last fun car before I have to buy a kid-friendly car (have you ever tried to put a car seat in the back of a 2 door? It's a big pain!) Test drive as many or as few cars as you want (I only drove 1!) but just make sure you enjoy your car, because hopefully you'll be together for a long time!

Do you have any car buying tips? Are you in the market for a new car?

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