April 16, 2024

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Thinking About Getting a New Car? Consider These Questions

questions to ask before buying a car
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Are your wheels getting a little long in the tooth? Feel like you’re driving a vehicle that should have been retired a few years back? Prior to heading to the first dealership that catches your eye, make sure to think about the best questions to ask before buying a new car.

Why ask the questions that are posed below? First, they’ll help you make better decisions related to your transportation needs, finances, and lifestyle. In fact, you should always brainstorm questions to ask before buying a new car, just to keep yourself focused.

Secondly, asking pointed questions can cause you to consider whether you need a car, truck, or SUV. They might even assist you in figuring out the right brand or model. You’d be surprised at how rapidly your brain starts thinking beyond basic questions and into the nitty-gritty.

Finally, you’ll probably be happier with the product you ultimately buy if you go through these questions to ask before buying a new car. After all, you’ve put your noggin into the experience and not just allowed marketers to sell you on a vehicle you don’t need and won’t adore.

So what are the questions to ask before buying a new car? They’re in the headers below.

What Will You Do With Your Old Car?

Most people would simply scoff at this as one of the questions to ask before buying a new car. Doesn’t everyone just trade in their vehicle, or try to sell it to get some immediate cash? Not necessarily. You might have a young teen who could use the car in a few years, especially if it’s still in decent working conditions. Or, you might want to take a more community-minded approach and “upcycle” your car by turning it into a donation.

A donation? Really? Absolutely. Vehicle donations aren’t new, and they may benefit you around tax time depending upon how much your car is worth. Plus, donating your car can make everyday life a whole lot easier for someone who doesn’t have his or her own transportation.

Take the inspirational story out of New Jersey of the man who biked 10 miles in the dark to and from work every day. His salary wasn’t enough to cover the cost of a car, so he made do by using ingenuity and relying on his body. To his surprise, his story was heard by Boggs Auto Collision Rebuilders, a local business that gives away one vehicle a year. Though the Mercury he received didn’t look pretty anymore, it still worked fine. Other community businesses added insurance coverage and a $1,000 fuel card to sweeten the deal.

Like the idea of transforming someone’s life just by donating your car? Look for organizations to partner with, like the New England-based Good News Garage. The whole mission of the nonprofit is to give away working vehicles to folks without the monetary means to get a jumpstart on paying for a newer or used car. Each year, the charity strives to pull adults of all ages out of financial insecurity and hopefully into a brighter path forward.

Why Do You Want a New Car?

This is one of those questions to ask before buying a new car that might have you answering, “Duh. Just because I do.” However, that’s not really a good reason. In fact, plenty of car buyers purchase new vehicles well before they need to. Maybe that’s you. If so, it’s okay, but you have to be honest with yourself as to why you’re window shopping in person and online for different transportation.

On the other hand, your answer to this question could revolve around your car no longer being viable or functional. Perhaps you were in a serious car crash that totaled your car. Accidents happen all the time, with around six million taking place in America alone. Therefore you might be cruising around in a discount car rental until you can find a replacement sedan or hatchback to call your own.

Remind yourself that there’s no bad answer to “Why do I want a new car?” With that being said, your honest response could cause you to rethink the decision. For example, you might have to admit, “I want a new car because my best friend just got one and I feel a little envious.” Or you might say, “I want a new car because I just feel like it’s my time to get one. It will make me happier.” Anything’s fine. Just make sure you’re transparent about the purpose of the car and the reason you want to upgrade.

Can You Repair Your Car?

Now that you’re knee-deep in the questions to ask before buying a new car, you might as well ask yourself another uber-honest one: “Can my car be repaired?” Don’t worry, though. Even if the answer is yes, an automotive repair might not be worth your time, investment, or effort.

A good rule of thumb is that if your car repair will cost more than a downpayment for a used vehicle, you might be better off getting the new wheels. The same holds true if you know that even after your pricey vehicle repair that you’re likely to need another expensive one in the future.

With that being said, always weigh the possibility of holding onto your car yet another six months or a year if it can be repaired for a reasonable amount. Why? You’ll be able to avoid locking yourself into a long-term loan payment. Many people end up paying hundreds each month on their auto loans after getting a vehicle from a dealership. You could be better off waiting and stashing away money to put a higher down payment on the table, costing you less in loan interest in the end.

What Insurance Will You Get?

Auto insurance isn’t cheap, but it doesn’t have to break the bank, either. Ideally, you should be able to find a car insurance provider that will give you an offer you can afford. Remember: Insurance for your car is mandatory because it protects you. It’s also the law. Each state has its own minimum requirements for car insurance, so get to know the regulations for yours.

Be cautious about just covering your new-to-you vehicle with the minimum insurance, though. Yes, it can sound great to hear that your premiums will be dirt cheap. If you get in an accident, though, you may feel bad that you accepted a cut-rate insurance package. Many personal injury lawsuits stem from at-fault drivers whose insurance wouldn’t cover victims’ medical bills or property damage.

What Vehicle Manufacturer Deserves Your Business?

As you’re moving through the questions to ask before buying a new car, take time for this one. Even if you’ve driven Chevys, Fords, or Toyotas your whole life, you can always make the switch to a different brand. In fact, you might be wise to, based on your changing needs.

Every manufacturer, make, and model has its own pros and cons. You have to determine what matters most to you, such as where the vehicle is made or how a specific model generation performs in your regional climate. A good way to narrow the field of possibilities is to create a list of all the automobile manufacturers you know and trust. Then, research the different cars they sell now or have sold in the past few years. Jot down what you like and dislike about each generational improvement.

This customized list will highlight which cars seem to be best suited for you and, if applicable, your family members or shared drivers.

Do You Trust Your Dealership?

Believe it or not, some people have little faith in the car dealership they’ve used in the past. And it’s not always because of the age-old “used car salesman” stereotype. It could be something you read online about the dealership’s discriminatory hiring practices, or a neighbor might have had a bad encounter with the dealership’s auto repair technicians.

It’s important that you trust the dealership where you intend to buy your car. Why? You’ll probably have several questions to ask before buying a new car that you’ll need them to answer. How can you believe those answers if you lack faith in the company?

If you’re perfectly certain that you just can’t return to the dealership you’ve relied upon for years, you’re hardly out of luck. Most cities and communities are home to multiple car dealerships. They’re all interested in snagging business, and one will surely make you feel at home, comfortable, and confident.

As a last note, you should never give your hard-earned dollars to any dealership that gives you a bad feeling. Move along and uncover the best one you can.

Are You Ready For Your New Car’s Upkeep?

Paying your car, gas, and auto insurance is one thing. Paying for continual upkeep for any vehicle is another. Upkeep can be expensive, especially if you have a high-end sports car. Even if you get Mercedes Benz parts online for cheap, you’re still paying a lot out of pocket.

Before signing on the dotted line for your new car, get an understanding of how much you can expect to spend on it annually. Then, divide that figure by 12. Your answer will give you a sense of how much extra you’ll need per month.

For instance, you might hear that your preferred car model usually requires about $1,500 in upkeep yearly. Divided by 12, that equates to $125 a month. Therefore, you’ll need to store $125 a month so you can pay for expected maintenance and repairs.

Of course, not all upkeep is necessary or something that you need to do. You might not feel the need to pay for auto detailing, for example. Nevertheless, some upkeep will be important, such as rotating the tires, staying on top of problems, changing your oil, topping off fluids, and getting regular check-ups with your favorite mechanic. Even if you’re handy and can do some of these tasks yourself in your garage or shed, you’ll still have to pay for parts. Though you’ll save on labor, parts can still add up.

Where Will You Get Your Car’s Work Done?

In terms of questions to ask before buying a new car, this one flows naturally from the last one. Where are you going to go? Which auto shop do you want to give your business to? It could be the mom-and-pop mechanic down the street, or a flashy dealership 30 minutes away in the next town.

Knowing where you’re getting your car’s work done before you buy the vehicle helps take away the worry about where to go if you need someone  to install used car parts or put on a brand new muffler. In general, you should pick a place that you believe is charging you fairly. Again, you’re going to pay for labor, but that’s to be expected. You just don’t want to pay so much that you feel like you’ve been taken to the cleaner instead of the auto shop!

Where Are You Going to Store Your Car?

Some cars just don’t sit outside well year-round, especially if you live in a part of the country that gets a lot of rain or snow. Therefore, you’ll want to be conscientious when choosing a car that can handle the weather if the car’s going to be stored outside.

On the flip side, you could have a garage. But does it need to be cleaned out before it can be home to a vehicle? Know the answer before you ever buy a car that deserves pampering, like a sports car or convertible with a fabric top. It’s surprising how many people lock themselves into a car purchase without truly knowing the ins and outs of keeping their wheel secure.

Should You Buy a Car Virtually?

The last of the questions to ask before buying a new car is whether or not to try the virtual buying methods offered today. Some places offer you the chance to order a car sight unseen. The car is brought to your door, and you’re allowed to try it before committing.

This may be a good option for you, especially if you’re worried about social distancing and test-driving a lot of vehicles. Just make sure you’re fine with the idea that you’re not going to be able to browse the car in person until it arrives at your home.