11 Things You Need to Know Before Buying a Car

Buying a new or used car can be a tough experience.

Many car dealers will try to push you to buy a vehicle before leaving the lot, so it’s important that you’re prepared with details about the cars you’re interested in, your budget range, and the value of your trade-in if you’ve got one. These details will help you negotiate a good bargain.

Here are 10 tips and tactics you need to know to guarantee you a good car at a great value price.

1. Think about financing

Before you take the trip to the dealership, first decide on the deposit you can set aside and the monthly payment you can afford. You should also try to do some homework about the best car loans, so you know what you’re eligible for.

  1. Know your credit score

It is important to be well aware of your credit score too. Knowing your credit score, credit history and current interest rates can help you negotiate a good bargain and save a good amount of money.

3. Do your research

Before heading out to a dealership, make sure to do a web search and ask around from trusted friends and relatives about the models and features of your list of choice cars. You can start your window shopping on credible auto marketplaces like Autotrader.com where you will find new and used vehicles of different make, model, price, body style, and more.

4. Compare prices

Preparing well prior to visiting a car dealer also means you have accurate price details in advance. Find out the different prices offered by different dealerships and get quotes using their online forms.

One of the best price comparison tools out is TrueCar. It helps you search and get pricing on any make, model, price, and year of your preferred vehicle. You may even immediately start to get a flood of phone calls and emails from different car dealers.

This information will give you a good idea of the price range of your choice vehicle and an opportunity to negotiate prices. Don’t forget to check on dealer sites for discount and other promo offers.

5. Test drive potential purchases

If you are acquainted with a specific make and model, you may want to pass on the test drive but you should do it anyway. It’s a smart idea to inspect the vehicle and go on a good test drive just to make sure the features, sounds and all are great. No squeaks, no rattles, no shimmies that could cause you trouble after purchase!

6. Check the vehicle history

Check for customer feedback when finding dealerships to visit, so you can avoid getting a bad experience. Keep in mind that because your choice of vehicle is parked in a reputable lot with good reviews is not always a guarantee the vehicle is issue-free. Always make sure to do a thorough background check, especially when buying used vehicles.

You can explore the services like CARFAX, which can help you to see the car history right from the first purchase. And don’t forget to check the car title online via the DMV.

7. Look for any repair history too

Besides checking the repair history of the vehicle you’re interested in, Autotrader also advises finding the service record of the make and model. Websites like Consumer Reports and J. D. Power have tools to check the reliability value of your choice vehicle to see how reliable it is.

Autotrader also suggests checking on Internet forums and words of mouth to see what other people are saying about the car and any dealerships you’re visiting.

8. Look out for energy efficiency

Light, hybrid vehicles with low emissions are the best bet when you minimise energy usage, save on fuel and increase the vehicle’s lifespan. In fact, almost all hybrid vehicles are energy efficient which is one of the features you need in an eco-friendly car.  This also means low carbon footprints and high gas economy.

9. Check safety feature: head restraints

There are a number of key features you need to ensure your choice of car has.

Head restraints are seat extensions of the car that limit head mobility during a rear-impact collision, thereby minimising the risk of a neck injury. Head restraints are needed in front seats and follow different size and strength specifications, but not in rear seats.

Although most of the head restraints need to be adjusted manually, others switch automatically with seat location changes or dynamically in a crash. In general, dynamic restraints provide the best protection.

10. Check safety feature: Airbags

In the event of a crash, the front airbags inflate to keep occupants from hitting the dashboard, steering wheel, and windshield, depending on speed and stiffness of the object struck. There are also side airbags that minimise the risk of the vehicle occupants crashing against it or foreign objects that smash through it.

While airbags provide the vast majority of people with life-saving advantages, there are circumstances where having an airbag is not enough, such as when the passengers are unbelted. The front airbags do not eliminate the requirement for seat belts and are not equipped to offer safety in rollovers, rear or side collisions.

In reality, airbags are only maximally effective if the seat belts are good and used by the occupants to hold them in position in the event of a collision. You will significantly reduce the risk of injury if you buckle your seat belt about 10 inches or so between your breastbone and the airbag.

11. Check safety features: Head injury protection

Head injury safety consists of foam or other materials that provide insulation beneath the trim of the interior of the vehicle, which may escape the notice of most vehicle owners and users. Some vehicles are equipped with head airbags.

Although all head airbags are designed to inflate on side impacts, others are designed to deploy during rollovers. Both airbag styles are equipped to help shield the passengers from an injury sustained when their head impacts a vehicle’s upper interior.