Six important steps for buying a new or used car
Buying a car– no matter what condition it is in– is never easy. Here are six steps to get you started when looking for a new car, whether it's your first or fifteenth.
- Know your price range. Not only does knowing your price range give you a good place to start, but it also keeps your head out of the clouds. You don’t want to find a nice car with everything you love, only to find it’s a few hundred, or even thousand more than you had planned to spend.
- Know what you want– make a list of any features, options, or trim levels you want on your car. Want to learn to drive a manual? It’s always best to start earlier and on a cheaper car. Have a certain paint color or interior trim in mind? Write it down. And don’t forget, air condition is a must in Arizona.
- Narrow it down. Once you’ve found some potential candidates using your original search criteria, it’s time to narrow down your selection. Do some research on brand reliability, build quality, and maintenance costs so you can avoid buying a lemon.
- Find it nearby. You can check local listings– sites like Craigslist, OfferUp, and Facebook Market– or new & used car dealers to get a feel for what the market is like in your area. Unless a car is off-the-lot new or in great condition, it’s not always worth a 30 mile round-trip just to take a look.
- Check the VIN. Checking the vehicle identification number, or VIN, of the car can potentially save you lots of money down the road. Using popular sites, like Carfax and Kelly Blue Book, you check for important things like vehicle ownership, accident reports, and manufacturer recalls.
- Don’t settle. Don’t be afraid to say no to a car, especially one that you are not 100 percent satisfied with. There’s tons of people selling their cars, and if you dig deep enough and search long enough, you’ll find your dream car in the perfect condition.