Did you know that, according to Business Insider, the average price for a new car is now $31,200? Not only are prices higher, but the average time it takes to pay off your new purchase will be markedly longer than in times past. The average car owner will toil away for seven years to pay off their loans from new car shopping.
Given that new car sales come with an even bigger, longer commitment than ever, it’s extremely important for you to know what to look for when buying a car, truck, or other vehicle. That said, unless you have a lot of experience, knowing what to look for when buying a car isn’t always easy. Follow these simple tips to make sure you find a vehicle you can be happy with for the next decade.
What to Look for When Buying a Car or Truck
- Take a Look at the Invoice to Negotiate a Better Price
- Only Look at the Options You Can Afford
- Choose Something with Features You Love
For Car and Driver, one of the first things you should look for when shopping for a new car is the invoice price. You can usually find this price on the sale sheet that is typically placed on one of the car’s windows. Find the invoice price and compare it against the sale price of the car to get an idea of just how much of a profit the dealer is trying to make. Knowing this information, you’ll be in a much stronger position when it comes time to negotiate.
Save yourself a lot of heartache by limiting your shopping to the car’s you can actually afford. As a rule of thumb, writes ABC News, you shouldn’t buy a car that will cost more than 20% of your monthly income to make payments on. Buying within your means gives you the room to handle any unforeseen difficulties with money at home. It’s important to note that 20% per month should not only include your monthly payments, but insurance premiums, gas money, and regular maintenance fees.
Remember, chances are you’re going to be stuck with your new car for almost a decade. That’s why you need to be sure your new ride has all the features you could ever want. Heated seats for winter commutes, bluetooth connectivity for your kids’ gadgets, remote starter — make that $30,000 investment worth something by choosing an option you’ll be proud to rub in people’s faces.
If you run a new car dealership, tell us about some of the advice you’d offer shoppers in the comments below. See more.