Buying Your First Car: Tips and Tricks
By Samantha Larson
So, you want to buy a car? It seems pretty simple at first, but once you really start delving into the world of auto purchase it becomes complicated fast. Really, really fast.
First things first. You need a permit, at the very least. Buying a car is much easier and makes much more sense when you’ve actually driven and you’re somewhat comfortable behind the wheel. Keep in mind, a basic knowledge of certain aspects of your typical vehicle is crucial.
Throughout the used car industry, one of the biggest issues in buying a car is mileage. Mileage is how many miles total your car has traveled. Keep in mind how many years are weighing on your car, for older cars may not function as well as newer ones. For the average adult, the average miles traveled per year are twelve thousand.
This is important information, because the higher the mileage, the older the car, the more your car begins to deteriorate and malfunction. Although, keep in mind, that mileage affects different cars differently. For example, a simple Toyota Camry can run for years without much maintenance required. But a Jeep, yikes, that puppy is going to need some serious fixing pretty quickly. JDPower, a website devoted to car reviews and ratings, gave Jeep an overall two out of five. For your own sake, stay away from cars with mileage above a hundred thousand or cars that are infamous for not being very reliable. Yes, they may be cheap, but trust me, you’ll be paying a royalty to Firestone or Jiffy Lube pretty quickly.
Another factor to keep in mind is cost. Do not buy a car that is ten thousand dollars or above because there is a chance that- being an inexperienced driver, it is more likely that you may get into a crash. Starter cars shouldn’t be rust buckets, but they certainly shouldn’t be brand spanking new.
The best range of cost would be between two thousand and seven thousand. Or heck, even below if you find a good deal. Most apps that are oriented to car shopping give you the option to enter your price range and preferred filters (For example, mileage, gas mileage, years, transmission, frame damage, etc).
When you have your permit, generally, you practice in your parent’s cars. Whether your parent’s car is a massive GMC or a little Mazda, you usually grow accustomed to the size and overall feel of the car. It may be best to buy a similar car in body style and size. Have you been exclusively driving a very big van? Well, maybe you should get a hatchback! Have you been practicing in a sedan or coupe? Get one! You’ll be far more comfortable driving alone if you have a car that is somewhat similar to the car you were taught in.
Now, when you are surfing websites like Cars.com or Car Gurus, you may see that some sellers are dealerships are some are individual sellers. Generally, you should lean to individual sellers because smaller dealerships are known for trying to weasel you out of a good deal. Plus, many dealerships can make the buying process very complicated, whereas individual sellers are usually straightforward.
Another important tip: don’t buy a car expensive, unreliable, foreign maker. Why? Because foreign cars means pricey, foreign car parts. If your transmission craps out, it’d be a lot cheaper if you were dealing with a Ford rather than an Audi. Often, you may see many Audis and BMWs for cheap on car shopping websites. This is because more often than not, the owner can’t keep up with paying for needed maintenance, so they just sell the car instead. I know most foreign cars are super rad, but trust me. They can be a burden, so be careful.
Navigating the car industry can be difficult, and time consuming. And maybe you’ll miss good deals, and maybe you won’t. Maybe your seller won’t contact you, and maybe they will. And also, have your parents help you! They will be far more versed in this process than you may be, and can help you see through the tricks and work out the kinks. It can be very frustrating and aggravating when you make a big mistake and buy a car missing an engine. So, tread lightly. Make sure you’ve done your research, and you are sure what car is right for you.
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