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3 Things to Consider When Buying a New Car

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2019 Subaru LegacyThere are two types of drivers in the world — those who upgrade their rides every few years, and those who drive their cars into the ground. No matter which camp you fall into, you’ll eventually fall into the “buyer” category, whether you prefer to buy new or used.

If you’re in the market for a new (or new-to-you) car, here are a few things to consider.

What’s your budget?

Before you start your search for a new ride, consider how much you can afford to spend. Using an auto calculator is useful because it allows you to play around with numbers based on your ideal monthly payment and the interest rate for your loan.

If you just need something to get you from A to B, you’ll probably want to spend the least amount possible on a car. But if you drive a lot you’ll likely be looking for something more modern and comfortable, and therefore more expensive. Money Under 30 recommends spending no more than 35 percent of your annual salary on a car. If you have a high salary, that might mean you can spend $50,000 on a car, but that doesn’t mean you should if you don’t need that much car.

What amenities do you need?

2018 Ford FusionTypically, the more features and amenities a car has, the more expensive it will be. Cars these days offer technologies like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and safety features like blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and rear back-up cameras. While these amenities are nice to have, you need to ask yourself whether they’re worth the extra money.

Other considerations include leather vs. cloth seats, manual vs. automatic transmissions (many new cars only offer manuals on the base trim level, if at all), and premium features like heated seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a touch-screen display.

Do your research based on your budget to see the types of amenities you can afford. To save money, go for the base trim level of your preferred model, even if that means eschewing those fancy leather seats (which tend to burn your butt in the summer and be freezing cold in the winter).

Where should you shop?

If you’re planning on buying a new car, you’ll need to work with a dealership to find your ideal match. Some dealerships will have exactly what you’re looking for on their lot, whereas others will require you to order your dream car.

Buying used expands your options. Most car dealerships have a good range of used cars, but if you’re looking for something specific you’ll need to expand your search. Check used car stores such as CarMax, as well as Craigslist and the classified ads in your local paper. Just make sure you’re careful if buying from an individual you don’t know — take someone with you to see the car and get it checked out by a trusted mechanic before you sign anything.

It’s important to be smart when buying a new car to ensure you end up with something that fits your needs and preferences. Take your time when buying a car if possible, so you can be confident you’re making a decision that will serve you well for years to come.

News Sources: Money Under 30

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