What Do You Need to Do Before Buying a Car?


Quick Answer

Before buying a car, a buyer should arrange for financing, understand the value of their trade-in and test drive the desired vehicle. It is also important to get price quotes on prospective vehicles and the necessary insurance, as well as review the purchase contract before signing any paperwork. Having a complete understanding of the total costs associated with owning a car is critical before making a purchase.

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Full Answer

The first step to buying a new car is to make sure the money is available to buy it. This step may include getting pre-approved for a loan. A car buyer should also know how much his trade-in is worth, as well as the value of the car he is interested in buying. Websites with this information include Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book.

Once the buyer has ascertained the price, he should browse local dealerships for the make and model in stock. Buyers often benefit by getting a price promise or quote from the Internet. Edmunds and TrueCar offer this service and can even narrow the prices down by ZIP code and dealership. Some dealerships also have Internet prices on the dealer website. Buyers can sometimes negotiate a lower price for a car.

The cost of owning a car is more than just what the buyer pays at the dealership when making the initial purchase. Other factors to consider are depreciation, any interest that is being paid on financing, maintenance costs for the vehicle and taxes/insurance. Additionally, cars with better gas mileage can translate to significant savings down the road, versus cars that have to fill up more often.

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