Ask around--buying a car is often a stressful thing for many people. Having so many options and a host of information at your fingertips can help and hurt the search. So what's most important to know when you're about to buy a car?
Five Things to Know When Buying a Car
1. Take It For A Test Drive
Just because that new car looks great and you've already fallen in love with it, take a step back. Take advantage of the test drive, and really pay attention. Do more than a two or three minute drive--take your time, listen to the engine noise, pay attention to how the vehicle performs over different types of surfaces, and how you feel while you're driving it. Imagine you're on a long road trip. Is there anything that would bother you crazy over time? Be picky! Buying a car is one of the biggest purchases you'll make in life.
2. Run a Vehicle History Test
Know the history of the car that you're buying, especially if you're looking at a used vehicle. Ask the dealership to run a CarFax and see if you can look at the vehicle service records as well. If there is any discrepancy on the record, come to an agreement with the dealer or move on to another vehicle.
3. Shop Around
As with any big purchase, you need to weigh your options before you head to the dealership. Know what vehicles you are interested in, their prices, and the options that are most important to you. Take a look at how these vehicles compare and know what questions you have before you walk into the dealership. You want to know that you are completely satisfied with the choice you make.
4. Take Your Time
Even though buying a car is an extremely experience, take care not to rush things. Take your time in your decision, and maybe even bring a friend along for the ride to get their opinions on the various vehicles that you look at. Having a third party present can give you honest advice, which is a way to cut through the excitement and make sure that you are focusing on your priorities.
5. Take It To a Mechanic
Just like bringing a friend to look at the cars you're thinking about purchasing, it's always a good idea to have a mechanic you trust take a look at the car you're seriously considering. Some mechanics will even do inspections for free but be prepared to pay for that inspection--it's worth it! Having a third party mechanic inspect the car will allow you to rule out a vehicle all together, or will give you some bargaining power with the salesperson to adjust the pricing of the car for any repairs that may need to be made before you're confident in your purchase.