Buying Your First Car

Buying a vehicle may be your first big purchase. Knowing how to manage the process can help you make the right decision. Here are a few tips that can help you through the process of purchasing your first vehicle:

Budget. The hardest step is to determine and stay within your outlined budget. A simple technique is to look at cars that are in your price range. This will prevent you from comparing higher end cars to what works with your budget.

Research. It is important to research the cars that you are interested in purchasing. Knowing about common problems associated with the vehicle may save you thousands of dollars over the next few years. Key information to research includes:

  • Any recalls for the vehicle
  • Common problems
  • Kilometres per gas tank
  • Cost of the winter/summer tires for the car
  • Cost of maintaining the car *(i.e. oil changes, brakes, brake pads, etc.)

Test drive. You should always test drive the car and have it assessed by a professional mechanic. This can prevent you from purchasing a car that has a new exterior but has internal problems with the engine or operating mechanisms. Do not hesitate to ask a lot of questions. Remember, this is a very big purchase - the last thing you want is to purchase a vehicle that needs major repair work.

Get quotes. Obtain quotes from more than one dealer. Prices between dealers can vary, in some cases by a couple of thousands of dollars. This will allow you to get the best deal on your car.

Insurance quote. Once you have narrowed your search to 2 - 3 cars, call an insurance company to get a quote. This step can help you decide which car to purchase. The difference in the insurance premium can be significant between models of cars.

Negotiate. The asking price is usually a guide. Most dealers are willing to come down on price and or add items like floor mats, bike rack, etc to the final price.

Close the deal. After you have agreed with the terms of the purchase you will have to sign the contract and/or the financing documents. Make sure that you read over and understand the contracts. If you have any questions, concerns or don't understand something then ask them to clarify before signing any documents. Before you drive off the lot with your new car, inspect it and make sure there are no scratches or dents. If there are any scratches or dents, get it in writing: this way you can bring the car back to have them fix it at a later date.

Have fun researching your first vehicle. Take your time and make sure that you make the right choice for your needs.

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