How to Shop for a New Vehicle for Your Family

Shopping for a new vehicle can be time consuming and expensive. It’s a large purchase to make so it’s important to be sure you are choosing the right vehicle for your household and that you are also getting the best deal possible. Doing some preliminary research at home and working the budget prior to visiting a local dealership can prevent disappointment and wasting too much time.

The beauty of the internet is that all the information you could ever need is right at your fingertips in the comfort of your own home. Take some time to sit down a think about what it is that you need from a new vehicle. Think about how many people are in your immediate family, how much cargo you typically lug around and how many other people you usually drive around in your car (other family members, friends, etc.) This will help you decide if a sedan is a wise choice or if you need something larger like an SUV or a van.

Once you’ve decided what type of car you want, you can look into different manufacturers and what the base price is of that kind of vehicle in your geographic location. You can weigh the pros and cons of new versus used and see what the availability is. New vehicles bring warrantees that can put your mind at east for a few years while used cars can be more affordable and may allow you to purchase a make and model that you typically wouldn’t be able to afford. Narrow your choice down to one or two specific vehicles that you want to seek out.

Before setting foot in a dealership make sure you’ve worked out your budget at home. If you don’t you may get talked into purchasing a vehicle that you will have trouble affording. Determine what amount of money you can use for a down payment, account for any car you will be trading in, and research any promotions or discounts that are currently running. A lot of places offer the choice of a one time discount or 0% financing. Depending on the price of the car, the down payment and the trade, either one could be a better choice. Also take a look at your monthly income, what your bills add up to and what amount of money you have left over each month. This will help you determine what your maximum monthly payment can be.

Visit a local dealership where you can see the cars you chose. You’ll want to test drive the vehicles to make sure you’re comfortable with the way they drive and you can narrow your choice down further. See what the inventory is at that location and try to pick the best car for your dollar. Many vehicles have a lot of added features that cost more money. Unless you really need DVD players, satelite radio or power seats, sticking to a base model will save you more money.

When you sit down with the salesman to work out the numbers, ask any questions you may have about the vehicle including safety specifications, how it drives in your particular climate (how does the car handle in the snow, etc.) and what current rebates or discounts are available. Make it clear what price you need the car to be and what you need your monthly payment to be. As long as you are realistic with your numbers, most dealerships will attempt to accomodate you. Don’t fall in love with the first car you drive and don’t be afraid to walk away if you don’t get the deal you want. A lot of dealerships will re-work the numbers when you leave and you may get a phone call that following week trying to make a deal with you anyway. In the meantime you can shop around for financing. You can always secure financing with a dealership but sometimes you can get a much better deal by going to a small credit union or bank in your area. If you have a medium to high credit score you should be fine with securing financing.

Shopping for a new vehicle for your family can be a stressful process and it can’t always be accomplished in one day. You may need to take some time to visit a few dealerships and working out the numbers with each one can take up some time. The more you think about what you want and can afford at home, the less time you’ll have to spend in the store. Always try to be realistic with your purchase and not spend too much money on a vehicle that you can’t afford. Many high end vehicles have a similar, lower priced option that might not carry all the bells and whistles along with it, but it will provide you with a safe form of transportation that will give you the room you need.

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