How To Buy Your First Car

Buying your first car can be a lot of fun, and nerve wracking as well. Find out how to make it easy, and save money along the way.

The time has come for you to purchase your first automobile. Now you ask yourself where you begin. What options do you have? How can you find the best deal? Here are a few ideas that should help you along the way.

The first thing to consider is how you are going to pay for the car. Are you looking to lease or finance your first vehicle? If you are thinking about leasing your first car there are some things you have to take into consideration. First, be aware that you will not own the car. Leasing is like an extended rental of a vehicle. The leasing company or dealership ultimately retains ownership of the car. Lease terms usually run from 24 to 48 months. Again, although you put a down payment, and make monthly payments, you will not own the vehicle. Once the term or length of the lease expires you will have two options; buy the car from the dealership, or simply return the car back. If you buy the car, you will enter into a new financial arrangement. You'll be expected to put down another few thousand dollars, then continue to make monthly payments, but this time on a finance agreement with a finance company or bank.

Your second option is to simply return the vehicle to the dealer. Keep in mind that upon retuning the car back, the dealer will inspect the car for any damage to the vehicle. Any necessary repairs will be charged to you. Also, keep in mind that you will be allotted only a certain amount of miles per year on a lease, anywhere from 10,000 to 12,000 miles per year. If you exceed this pre-determined limit you will have to pay the dealer a fee of anywhere from $.10 to $.15 cents per mile. Therefore, if you are the type who travels many miles per year, perhaps leasing is not the best option for you unless you intend to buy the car at the end of the lease term. If you don't buy the car, exceeding the mileage limits will result in a large payment due to the dealer. In fact, many dealerships will not allow you to return the car back, but rather will make you buy the car instead.



Now that you've thought about how to pay for the car, the next step of course is to go out shopping for a car. Many first time car buyers will purchase a used vehicle largely in part to save some money. Today, you can find a great deal on a used car. Many dealerships will certify a used or "pre-owned" car, putting it through a detailed inspection from bumper to bumper. Another advantage to buying used is the fact that if you can afford to buy the car in cash, you will not have monthly car payments. You can also save money in insurance premiums since you will not be obligated to obtain full comprehensive insurance on a car that you own free and clear. Many communities publish car buyer magazines for free. You may have already seen them at local food stores, supermarkets, etc. And of course, the internet is also a great way to find cars for sale in your area.

Perhaps you are the kind of individual who wants the feel and smell of a new car. You ask yourself if you should buy a foreign car or a domestic made automobile. Fortunately, domestic made automobiles are of much better quality than they were several years ago. Look at the warranty carefully and ask your dealer what exactly does it cover, and what does it not cover. A car maker who offers a long term warranty is always a safe investment. Another good investment is purchasing a maintenance plan that will cover regular oil changes, tire rotations, etc. A well maintained automobile will last for many years to come. Finally, whether you choose foreign or domestic, make sure you are allowed to take the car out for a test drive. If you've never owned a car before, it may be a good idea to bring along an experienced driver with you like a parent, family member or good friend and let them get behind the wheel as well. If the car does not feel right you may not be aware of any problems. An experienced driver is more likely to feel anything that might be wrong with the car you are about to buy.

To recap, consider your finance options of purchasing or leasing. Next, are you going to buy new or used? And lastly, do you want a domestic or foreign car. Once you've decided these factors, head out there and test drive the car that catches your eye before you sign that lease or purchase agreement.

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