What to Think About When Buying Your First Vehicle
After graduating high school or college, you’ll likely feel the need for a vehicle to navigate your passage into the world of adulthood. Whether you’re continuing your education or starting a job, having a car is in many cases essential in American society. Buying your first car can feel overwhelming, so we’ve put together a list of things to think about to make this process a little easier and help you find the vehicle that’s perfect for your needs.
To help narrow down what vehicle to look for, consider the practical matters: what are you actually going to be using it for? Is it more important to have a comfortable vehicle for long drives, or do you prefer a smaller vehicle that can easily be maneuvered through the city streets? Do you need a lot of cargo space or passenger room, or do you prefer a high-quality sound system? Do you get lost all the time and need in-car navigation? These are all things to consider when choosing the type of vehicle you want.
What is “total cost of ownership?”
Beyond the sticker price on the lot, it’s important to consider the ongoing “hidden” costs that will come into play soon after your purchase. These include things like fuel, insurance, maintenance, and parking.
Different vehicles have different costs of ownership. For example, a hybrid is going to have a lower fuel cost, and a more reliable vehicle is going to have a lower maintenance cost than something less dependable.
To lower the cost of ownership, research different vehicles and look for ones that are reliable and fuel-efficient. Additionally, buying a used car will help decrease the cost of insurance.
How do I know if a vehicle is safe?
Safety might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you consider your new car, but it’s definitely important. Look for vehicles with good safety ratings and safety features. When buying used, get a car report using the vehicle’s VIN so you can see any past issues it’s had. This will also help avoid future maintenance problems.
What insurance do I use?
Auto-insurance can seem overwhelming when you’re first starting out. Still, it’s important to get a handle on what you’re going to be paying and what you’re going to be getting. At this point, you might still be on your parent’s policy, but together you can explore the positives and negatives of starting your own.
What paperwork do I need to bring to buy a car?
Before going to make the purchase, make sure you bring the right paperwork. This includes your driver’s license, current insurance, IRS cash-reporting form and security report.
Is monthly maintenance important?
When you get your first car, it can be tough to get in the habit of routine maintenance appointments. However, we can’t understate the importance of keeping your vehicle in tip-top shape. Get started right away with scheduling appointments for things like oil changes, wiper fluid refills, and tune-ups at the recommended times.
Start your search by checking out our wide inventory of pre-owned vehicles here at Third Coast Auto Group. If you’d like to take any of them for a test drive, don’t hesitate to contact us.