Our Top Tips to Finding the Best New Car for You
Although the process of buying a brand-new car can seem daunting – especially if you’ve never done it before – there are several ways to make new car shopping easier on both you and your budget.
Buying a new car should never be an impulse purchase, so your biggest challenge is going to be slowing down and taking your time. It also helps if you have a strategy in play when you go shopping for new cars. Sticking to a plan means that you are more likely to get the car that you want for a price that you can afford. Remember, you’re in control of this situation – not your sales associate.
Let’s go over some of the top tips and best practices to employ when shopping for new cars for sale in Houston.
Tip #1 – Set a Firm Budget
The last thing that you want to do is go into the new car buying process with a “money is no object” attitude. Money is definitely an object. In fact, it’s the only object that’s going to allow for this purchase to happen.
A good way to ensure that you don’t end up spending more than you want is by setting a firm budget. That budget can either be the total price of the car (if you plan on paying in cash) or the monthly payment that you can reasonably afford.
Most people end up going with the payment option since they don’t have several thousands of dollars sitting around in their bank accounts. A few things to keep in mind when setting a monthly budget:
- Don’t forget to factor in your state’s sales tax on top of the MSRP
- Don’t forget to factor in the dealership’s surcharges and fees
- Don’t forget about the interest rate you’ll be paying on top of everything else
- A new car means that your car insurance is likely going to rise significantly; factor that in as well
Remember, in the event that it appears your monthly payment is barely above your allowed budget, you do have the option to extend your loan terms. For instance, you can go from a three-year to a five-year loan term. This may result in a slightly higher interest rate, but will give you a lower monthly payment that you can afford.
Tip #2 – Do Most of Your Shopping Beforehand
The beauty of living in the digital age is that most new car shopping can take place on a smartphone or computer. Every new car dealership worth their salt lists the entirety of their new vehicle selection right on their website. Don’t forget to use those handy filters so that you can narrow down your selection by price, vehicle type, drivetrain, and other attributes.
For every vehicle listed, you should be able to see all the main performance aspects (horsepower, torque, engine type) along with the vehicle’s full listing of safety and convenience features. Don’t forget to check out what kind of warranty and coverages the vehicle comes with. That will come in handy later down the line when you need routine maintenance.
Having all this information right at your fingertips should allow you to get an idea of what vehicles you want to test drive at the dealership. You can even make an appointment right from the dealership’s website to ensure that the vehicle is available for test driving when you arrive.
Tip #3 – Be Super Thorough When Test Driving
Try not to get distracted by the new car smell and all the bright and shiny features of the vehicle. Test driving is serious business. Just because a vehicle is brand new and has no previous owners doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to like the way it drives.
For instance, some people will never drive an SUV simply because they don’t like the way that they handle. Conversely, other people refuse to step foot into a compact because they feel too tiny and light.
When you step into a new car that you’re considering buying, make sure that you pay particularly close attention to the way the vehicle feels and how it handles. You’ll also want to take it through a battery of driving tests. Make sure to:
- Drive the vehicle at high speeds on the interstate
- Drive the vehicle at low and moderate speeds through side streets
- Drive the car in reverse
- Take several left and right-hand turns
- Test the acceleration with a few highway merges
- Test the brakes (both gradual and hard braking)
- Test all the driver features (ex: adaptive cruise control)
A typical test drive should take you at least 20 to 30 minutes to reasonably address everything on your checklist. If you don’t absolutely love the way that the car drives, don’t be afraid to walk away. There are plenty of other fish in the sea for you to check out.
Start Shopping for New Cars for Sale in Houston Today
Now that you know some of the top tips and best practices to use when shopping for a new car, the next step is for you to get started with your search. The best way to go about this is by Googling phrases such as “new cars for sale near me” or you can be more specific by listing a particular vehicle make and model. That should bring up a list of dealerships in the area that sell that particular car.