The car buying experience should be one of life’s pleasures. Car Manufacturers work hard to bring new features and exciting styling to their line-ups. Whether you’re looking for something new, or new-to-you, the buying experience is your chance to find a car that fits your needs and reflects your personal style. But for some, the car buying experience is overwhelming and confusing. Below are some tips to help ensure a positive car buying experience.

  1. Know Your Budget. The first thing you need to do is figure out your budget. Whether you are buying or leasing, you need to know how much you want to spend on your next car. If you’re paying cash for the car, then you need to decide how much you’re willing to spend. If you’re leasing or financing, then you need to figure out what monthly payment you can afford. When calculating how much you can afford, make sure you include related costs like insurance, gas and maintenance in your budget.
  2. Narrow the Field. Once you’ve established a budget, consider the type of vehicle. If you have a large family, you might need a large SUV or mini-van. If you live in the city where space is tight, a compact car might be a better option. Choosing the vehicle type will focus your search, making it more manageable.
  3. Do Your Homework. Once you’ve decided on vehicle type, use the wealth of information available on the internet to refine your list of options. Owner’s reviews and articles from respected sources, like Consumer Reports and MSN Auto, provide a wealth of information to help narrow down you choices.

After the first three steps you should have a list of 3-5 options that are within your price range and meet your needs. Now it’s time for the fun part: Test drives. Having done your homework, you can walk into the dealership with confidence. The purpose of your first visit is to test-drive your short-list options. Here are some tips for navigating the process.

  1. Be Upfront with the Dealer. Tell the dealer that you are not yet ready to purchase. This removes pressure from the situation. Also, don’t be afraid to share your short list options with the dealer. This gives the dealer a chance to explain why their car is your best choice. Listen to them, they might be able to offer insights that you didn’t discover on your own.
  2. Take the Car for a Ride. All your research up to now is meaningless if you don’t like the diving experience. Taking it for a 24 Hour Home Test Drive will allow you to adjust the seats and mirrors and play with the controls. Make sure you feel comfortable in the car and are happy with how it handles.

Make sure you drive all the cars on your short-list before you reach a conclusion. Once you’ve driven all the options, you can make an informed decision.

That’s it, you’re ready to enjoy your new car. Your reward for following this process is peace of mind knowing you made a well-researched purchase and your car will continue to bring you many years of enjoyment. Happy Driving!