Questions to Ask Before Buying Your First Car

Anyone who’s been through the car-buying process knows how many questions it entails. There are also different stages, each of which brings about its own set of questions that must be answered to move closer to the end goal — the moment you get the keys to the right vehicle for you at the right price.

A seasoned veteran of car-buying might be pretty comfortable with what to expect and what to ask along the way. However, if you’re buying your first car, you may not yet know what to ask and when. That’s totally understandable! After all, everyone who has ever bought a car was in that exact same position at some point.

Here are a few key questions to point you in the right direction ahead of buying your own vehicle.

Questions to Ask When Choosing a Model/Manufacturer

Since it’s your first time buying a vehicle, you may not yet have an allegiance to a particular manufacturer — or at least a non-negotiable one. This is the stage where you’ll do research to figure out which kind of vehicle you’re seeking out.

How Will I Use This Car? What will a “typical” drive look like for you? Will you be alone, or will you often be transporting family members or friends? What kind of climate do you live in? How much “stuff” do you need to be able to fit? How long is your daily drive to work, school or errands?

Asking yourself these questions will help you narrow down your search so as to evaluate makes and models according to how they suit your needs.

How Much Can I Afford to Pay? Budget is also a major determiner of the type of car you get — new or used, sedan or SUV, etc. Working out your budget ahead of time will help you avoid being dazzled or overwhelmed at the dealership by an unaffordable option.

There are a lot of helpful rules of thumb to keep in mind when deciding how much you can afford to spend. Here are two handy guidelines from Money Under 30:

  • Keep the purchase price of your vehicle under 35 percent of your yearly income.
  • Keep your monthly payment below 10 percent of your gross income.

What Are My Needs? What Are My Wants? Take stock of what’s non-negotiable — for instance, safety features — and what you can live without if it means saving money or finding an otherwise great vehicle.

Questions to Ask About Specific Vehicles You’re Considering

Say you’ve zeroed in one a potential vehicle that meets your aforementioned needs. There are still a few more key inquiries to make before closing the deal.

How Will I Finance This Car? Can I Negotiate Any More? Learning more about the finer points of either leasing or buying will help you know what to expect — and which features you can negotiate. Pro tip: Be sure to focus more on the total purchase price than the monthly payments, as dealerships sometimes try to lower these by lengthening the contract.

One possible resource for advice on financing could be exploring “first-time car buyer programs near me.” Some brands and dealerships have resources meant to walk you through the financing process, whether you’re leasing or buying.

What’s on the Vehicle’s Title and History Reports? As Business Insider advises, always ask to see a car’s title history and accident history before committing. This can help you avoid potential damage or issues that aren’t visible to the eye.

Knowing which questions to ask before buying your first car will help you navigate the process with confidence and help you make the right decision.

Related Articles

Back to top button