Top Things to Consider When Buying a Car

    Jenna Taubel

    Jenna Taubel About The Author

    Oct 12, 2017 6:41:00 AM

    Whether you're looking to buy your first vehicle or your fourth, there are a number of things to consider before signing on the dotted line. Taking the time to research and become familiar with the car buying process is the best way to ensure you get the best car for you.

    Top things to consider when buying a car:

    Buying a car is a significant purchase and having a clear understanding of what you want and need in a vehicle will ultimately help you get the best deal for your money
    • Wants and needs
    • Pricing
    • Fuel Efficiency 
    • Condition of the vehicle 

    This article briefly explores these factors to help you make an informed purchase when buying a car.

    Your Wants and Needs in a Vehicle

    A good place to start your car buying process is by making a list of features you want and need your vehicle to have. You may want to have the latest and greatest features, which is fine, however just know that if there is no compromising over those extras, then your probably going to have to purchasing a new car, which is often more expensive. However, if having the latest and greatest features is not a high priority, look at purchasing an slightly older vehicle with decent features and it will likely be within a reasonable price range. There are no right or wrong answers to your wanted vs needed features in a new vehicle, this is only to help you narrow down your choices, so you drive away in the best car for you.

    Pricing of  the Vehicle

    When looking into a buying any vehicle, new or used, do your homework first, compare the pricing of the vehicle you are interested in with multiple dealerships. Compare the costs of the dealership with private parties sales, and with online tools like Kelly Blue Book.  

    Once you are comfortable with the pricing on the vehicle, make sure you have considered the cost to finance the vehicle. Spend time comparing the financing available through a dealership and your financial institution. It's always a good idea to speak to your financial institution about getting pre-approved before visiting a dealership. This allows you to more easily stay on budget when shopping for your vehicle. 

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    Fuel Efficiency

    Newer automobiles are generally more fuel efficient than their preceding models. If fuel efficiency is one of your top priorities, it would certainly be worthwhile to look into a newer vehicle. On the other hand, if fuel economy is not as high a priority, an older vehicle that has been well taken care of would be worth consideration. However, no matter what vehicle you decided on, it is important to know about how much you will be spending each year on gas based on the vehicle you choose. 

    Condition of the Vehicle

    Using the VIN : The Verification Identification Number (VIN) is a unique combination of letters and numbers that are assigned to every vehicle. Every repair or maintenance that a vehicle encounters is tracked through the VIN number throughout the life of the vehicle. When purchasing a used vehicle, investigation of this information will give a detailed history of how that particular vehicle has been maintained. There are many resources available, especially online, to retrieve a car history results.

    Inspection Matters: The inspection criteria are different for new and used cars. The inspection of a new car merely includes a demonstration by a salesperson about all the specifications of the car. Older vehicles will need a more detailed inspection. Having a trusted mechanic look at the car before the purchase is always a good idea. It is also important to inspect the vehicle yourself, you can download a free vehicle inspection checklist below to help you through the process.


    Taking the time to consider all the options of buying a vehicle will help you have a greater understanding of the car buying process and will help ensure you are purchasing a vehicle that is best suited to you. 

    We do our best to provide helpful information but we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information presented in the article, under no circumstance does the information provided constitute legal advice. You are responsible for independently verifying the information if you intend to use it in any way. Additionally, the content is not intended to be reflective of First Alliance Credit Union’s products or services, for accurate and complete details about our product and service information you must speak to an advisor at First Alliance Credit Union.