August 20, 2019
1. Determine if you really need a car
It’s important to take a step back to review your actual transportation needs. Can a bus ride or a ride from a friend or family member or an occasional rental get you by?
2. Know your budget
If you’ve determined that a car purchase is necessary at this point in your life, don’t start hunting for your dream car until you’ve worked out a realistic budget. Take a hard look at your other monthly expenses to see how much you can spare for a new set of wheels. Don’t forget to include some cash for auto insurance, gas and maintenance.
3. Create a tentative wish list
This is your first car, so it doesn’t need to have all the bells and whistles it does in your dreams. Sit down and make a list of all the “must haves” and “wants” you’re looking for in a vehicle.
4. Obtain financing
If you’ve been saving up cash for your first car all through high school, you’re set! Otherwise, visit Cornerstone CU to learn about your auto loan options and to get your pre-approval.
5. Research your options
You’re ready to start looking for a vehicle that will satisfy your needs and wants. You can research ratings and user reviews on sites like Cars.com and create another list that contains your top three choices of car makes and models.
6. Look up listings
Start scavenging for listings of your car choices online and in your neighborhood. Once you’ve found several that might work, research their histories on Carfax.com and then contact the seller to set up a test drive.
7. Take it for a spin
If a car checks out and everything looks good, you’re going to want to take it for a test drive. Pay attention to details like legroom, acceleration, brake functionality and more while you drive.
8. Have it inspected
If you’re purchasing a used vehicle, it’s best to have it inspected by a mechanic before signing on the deal.
9. Make it official
If your car has passed the test drive and inspection, you’re ready to make it official! Be sure to read all documents before signing and obtain insurance before your first joyride.
Enjoy your new set of wheels and drive safely!