It’s a great time to buy a new or used car. Interest rates are low, and dealerships are offering a lot of great incentives. Shopping for a new car can be a lot of work, and if you’re not careful, you could end up paying more money than you should or driving a car that doesn’t meet your needs. Here’s what you need to know before buying a car.
Check the Vehicle History
Your dealer should be willing to provide a full vehicle history report. The vehicle history report includes information about the car like:
- Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
- Odometer reading
- Previous owners
- Vehicle use history (lease, rental car, etc.)
- Car Accidents (if any)
- Liens (if any)
- Service history
Why is this important? The vehicle history is important because it informs you of any potential issues with the car before you purchase it. For example, a vehicle with past accidents may have signs of damage or still experience mechanical issues. You’ll also want to make sure the vehicle has a clear title, which means that the previous owner did not have any liens, or debts, against the vehicle.
Check the Cost of Car Insurance
State law requires drivers to insure their vehicles, so this is a cost you can’t avoid. You might want to know what is the cheapest car to insure prior to buying a new or used vehicle. However, many other factors affect insurance rates, including your address, credit history, driving record, and age. Some of those factors are out of your control, but the one factor you can control is which vehicle you purchase.
If you’re interested in purchasing a luxury car, sports car, or electric vehicle, then you can expect to pay higher insurance rates due to lower safety ratings and higher repair costs.
You also can expect to pay higher premiums if the car you purchase has a higher rate of accidents. Thieves steal these cars more often, so expect to pay higher rates on:
- Ford F-150
- Honda Civic
- Chevy Silverado
- Honda Accord
- Nissan Altima
- Toyota Corolla
You can get cheaper insurance rates if you purchase a car that is new or has the latest in driver assistance technologies, like automatic high beams, lane assist, and automatic cruise control.
Check the Tech
Make a list of which safety and entertainment technologies are important to you. For example, if you have an Android phone, you want to make sure your vehicle is equipped with Android Auto. If you’re a frequent traveler, then an in-car navigation system might be a necessary feature. If you’re looking for a car with a navigation system, do some research on how to update the maps in the system.
If you’re a music lover, then the audio system in your vehicle is an important consideration. Many car manufacturers offer upgrades to high-end sound systems from brands like Harman Kardon, Bose, and Beats Audio. These systems include extra speakers for music.
When you’re shopping for a new car, you don’t want to neglect to research the most important tech of all – safety technology. Safety tech is more than just traction control, airbags, and anti-lock brakes. If you want to keep your family safe on the road wherever you go, check out the latest in safety technology. Newer vehicles often come equipped with driver assistance systems with advanced features to reduce the chances of a collision. If you know you’ll be driving on busy highways, look for cars with safety features like Blind Spot Detection and Lane Keep Assist. If you take a lot of long trips, then look for a car with Advanced Cruise Control, which uses cameras to maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you.
No matter what vehicle you choose, if you research the vehicle history, the insurance rates, and the technology, you’re making a smart move.