Essential Car Buying
Buying a vehicle can feel like an overwhelming experience. It requires a large investment of money and some serious decision making time. The process doesn't have to be formidable though. With some proper planning and tips on what to pay attention to, you can buy a car without getting anxious and stressed. Here are five of the most important things to do when you are committing to buying a car.

1. Plan Your Budget

Knowing just what you can afford to spend is the biggest key to car buying. Before you can even begin to research vehicles, you should know exactly what price range you are looking at. If you will be financing you should also research an auto loan that works for your budget. Having a monthly payment in mind and the details of your loan will give you a better idea of exactly what you can afford when you begin your search. In addition to your car payment, it is important to consider other vehicle costs such as gas, tires, maintenance and insurance. The vehicle you end up choosing will have an impact on many areas of your budget so you need to think about all the associated costs up front.

2. Know What You Want

As you begin to search for available automobiles, begin to think about specifically what you want from your vehicle. Consider how many miles your commute is. If you have a long drive, you'll want to think about getting a car with excellent gas mileage. If you spend a lot of time driving, comfort will also be a big factor in your purchase. Keeping your budget in mind, think about what specific features are most important to you and how you use your car. Depending on your needs, you may also consider how much cargo space is offered, towing ability, four-wheel drive and other available options. It's important to know before you start to contact dealers or private sellers just what you're looking for so you are able to ask the right questions.

3. Learn What To Say

Once you are ready to start discussing details with a dealer or private seller, plan out your conversation in advance. Write down a list of specific questions you want to ask so that you cover everything. If you're contacting a dealership, look over their inventory before you reach out so that you have an idea of what's available and which vehicles you want to know more about. When you start the conversation, make sure that you don't reveal too much information about your situation. If you are in desperate need of a vehicle as soon as possible, a salesperson will take that into consideration and you may end up with a worse deal as a result.

4. Take A Test Drive

Once you've decided on some potential options, you will definitely want to take a few cars for a spin. Before you take off, be sure to walk around the vehicle and take note of the exterior condition of the car. Look for dents, scratches and rust spots. Examine the tires to see how much tread life is left and whether there are signs of uneven wear. Once you are driving, make sure to take a route that allows for some stopping and starting so you can see how the brakes work. Also be sure to go where you can get the car up to at least a 55 mile per hour speed.

5. Be Confident

When you've chosen a vehicle and are ready to negotiate, be confident. Knowing what you want and what the car's limitations and damages may be will give you the best position to get the best price available.

Purchasing a car is a big step no matter what stage of life you are in or how many cars you've purchased before. Approaching the process with a level head and a plan in mind will help you make the right decisions along the way. Follow these five essential tips to help you do just that.