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First Time Car Buyer

First Time Car Buyer: Tips for Students

two jeeps in front of Service Shop

Being a first-time car buyer is always exciting! It is one step toward the new world of adult independence and freedom. However, buying a first car can be an intimidating process. There are so many car dealerships offering cars for students, but how do you choose the right first car to fulfill your needs? Another question is how to find and afford a reliable car because prices are pretty high?

No worries, here is the first-time car buyer’s guide to buying an affordable used car that will help you become mobile.

Below we will discuss four steps involved in the vehicle purchase:

  1. Understanding the market: research
  2. Determining the budget & tips for savings
  3. Deciding between a new and used cars
  4. Shopping on the dealership website

Understanding the Market

The first step will be the research. After this word, students are thinking of quitting because research sounds like a long and boring process, but it will be worth the time. It will help understand market-based vehicle prices and prevent paying too much for a vehicle that is not worth it.

Let’s start by writing down the features that you as a consumer want to have in the vehicle. Think strategically about the needs:

  • Will you use your vehicles primarily for driving to school, or do you need to make longer trips?
  • Do you need a small car, or do you prefer SUV?
    • How many passengers do you need to carry?
  • Do you have any priorities for the car’s options?
    • What are your must-have features? Think heated leather seats, Apple CarPlay, sunroof, etc.
  • What are safety features important to you?
    • Do you want a backup camera, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and automatic emergency braking, for example?

Answering this question will help the car shopper to understand the needs and narrow the search. Now let’s choose the vehicle that will fulfill your needs .

Determine the Budget

The second step is to establish the budget. Let’s see. Do you have any savings? Now let’s count how much you can save during the next couple of months. For example, start making coffee at home instead of going to Starbucks daily. Also, what do you think about making lunch at home or eating in the dining hall instead of going out for lunch? Between these two cost-cutting strategies students typically save around $300/month. So, what do you think is doable for you?

Also, let’s talk about how you will pay for the car. Do you think you will be able to pay for the car right away in cash? Do not be afraid if the answer is no. There is another way to buy a car. You can take a loan and pay for the car monthly. It is a good idea. The only thing is that you need to be sure that you will be able to make monthly payments. Here you can find more information about Monthly Car Payments.

Now, let’s not forget that there will be some additional expenses after the purchase of the car:

  • Gas price
    • Here is a tip: small cars typically have a higher MPG (good) than larger vehicles. Thus, if you know how much you will drive per day, you can estimate your miles driven per month and count your gas expenses.
  • Insurance cost
    • Car insurance prices depend on the model and year of the vehicle. However, there is a small bonus for full-time or recently graduated students: if you have a high grade-point average, you may be eligible for a discount on insurance rates.
  • Vehicle Service Contracts
    • If you decide to buy a used car, the manufacturer’s warranties have either run out or are about to. So do not forget to read the history report carefully and be sure that you understand which defects are and are not covered. Besides this, do not forget that some vehicles are more scarce than others, and the cost of the replacement parts may be higher. Here is more information about Vehicle Service Contracts .
  • Tire replacement
    • This factor is related more to pre-owned cars. Do not forget to check the tires on the vehicle and ask the dealer.

Pre-owned vs New Vehicle

The third step is to decide whether to buy a new or a used vehicle. The new thing is always good, especially when it is a vehicle. The latest vehicles on the market have advanced features and cool designs. The downside of new vehicles is their price. Is it worth it for students to spend that much on a vehicle? Sure, we can say that a vehicle is a long-term investment in the future, and that is true, but do not forget that every year, the market is changing. Also, do not think that used cars will not have access to technology or will not have all the features that you need. Most used vehicles are equipped with the same features as new cars, have good performance, and are comfortable and safe. When you buy used vehicles, you will be able to save a good amount of money and be the owner of the affordable vehicle that you were looking for. There are a lot of good vehicles that cost under $20,000 . Also do not forget that there are many ways how you can generate a passive income with your vehicle .

Are you Ready to Buy your First Car?

The last step of this process is going on the dealership website and starting to look for used cars. You already know your needs and budget. You most likely have a picture of your dream car in your head. If not, do not be scared; it is okay. Buying the first vehicle is a complex process, but you’ve got this! Do not hesitate to reach out to the Indy Auto Man dealership managers for more information and the best used car deals in Indianapolis.