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10 Things to Consider When Shopping for a New Car

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Owning a car can provide you with independence and flexibility. You may be able to work or live in locations not accessible with public transit, and you will be able to visit friends or family or take road trips. 

Your vehicle also represents one of your largest expenses. Purchasing a vehicle is a significant decision, and you can ensure you make the best choice possible by carefully considering these factors when you’re shopping for a new car.

1. Time to Shop

Look for a new vehicle in the fall. Sales staff are focused on reaching their sales quotas for the year and may offer better discounts against the actual cash value (ACV) of the vehicle. You may also get a better offer if you shop near the end of the month.

2. Budget

Calculate your budget before you start shopping. If you have a firm amount you’re willing to spend, you can save yourself time by avoiding vehicles out of your price range. Your budget should also consider insurance products and deductibles. These may include vandalism protection or comprehensive coverage in the event of a natural disaster.

3. Financing

Many car dealerships can arrange a financing agreement, but your options may be limited. Contact your bank and other lenders and get preapproved for a car loan before you shop. You may secure a better interest rate if you go through this process before you visit a dealership. You’ll also spend less time at the dealership after you choose your vehicle.

4. Insurance Costs

Auto insurance is one of the largest costs of car ownership. Whether you need collision coverage, liability insurance, or comprehensive insurance, you need to have the right insurance company on your side. Your insurance provider can help you get the actual cash value of your car if there’s a total loss after a car accident.

Take time to examine comprehensive car insurance options for the vehicles you’re considering. iSelect enables you to compare quotes from different companies to have a clear understanding of what they cover and how much they cost. Using their site is a simple, effective way to ensure you get the best insurance coverage at an affordable price.

5. Maintenance Costs

Other vehicle costs include routine maintenance. Tires will need to be rotated and replaced. Your car’s oil must be changed regularly. Some makes and models are designed to use specific oil types, which can triple the cost of an oil change.

6. Make and Model

The make and model of your vehicle will affect the maintenance and insurance costs. Some models are prone to mechanical issues. Different makes and models also have different safety records. Review the safety reports for the makes and models you’re considering before you shop to ensure you find a vehicle that meets your quality and safety expectations.

7. Vehicle History

If you’re purchasing a used vehicle, take time to review its maintenance history. This may also impact the car insurance policy you select as well as the types of coverage you should consider. This way, you will know if the vehicle has been involved in any accidents and how significant the damage was. You may also want to avoid purchasing a vehicle that hasn’t been adequately maintained.

8. Size

The size of your vehicle will determine how many passengers or items you can transport. Be realistic about your needs to ensure you get a vehicle with enough room. For example, if you carpool with coworkers, you may not want to purchase a compact car with limited legroom.

9. Fuel Efficiency

Your vehicle’s fuel efficiency will affect your monthly transportation costs. Larger vehicles typically need to be filled up more often than smaller vehicles. Newer vehicles are designed to maximize fuel efficiency, which can help offset the cost of purchasing a new vehicle.

10. Trade-in Value

Have your current vehicle appraised and review the estimated value reported in the Kelley Blue Book and other reputable sources. If you understand your current vehicle’s value, you can ensure you get a fair price if you trade it in when you purchase your new car.