You never forget your firsts. However, buying your first car isn’t the same as your first romance. Aside from spending at least six digits, you need to invest time and TLC. Car buying is not a joke, so it’s better to know a thing or two when walking into a dealership. Here are a few tips for first-time car buyers:
Assess your financial capability
If you let your emotions get the best of you, chances are you’ll pay more for a car when you could have gotten it for a lower price. You could get a low-down payment, but be burdened with high interest rates. Think carefully before diving head first. “Determine if your monthly income and your cash flow would allow you to go for this type of financing option. Otherwise, look at the other payment options offered,” advises an article published on ABS-CBN News.
Choose safety over everything else, don’t skip on car insurance
Since you’re a first-time car owner, chances are you’re not used to dealing with the chaotic Philippine traffic. This entails serious risks ranging from minor dents to a full-on collision. According to online car resource Carmudi, rookie car owners should prioritize safety.
“To play it safe, make sure that the car model you are buying has an overall crash test score of at least four stars. One of the well-known agencies that test crash worthiness is the European New Car Assessment Programme or Euro NCAP,” the article said.
Strike a balance between needs and wants
Do you need a lot of room? Do you prefer a cheaper brand over a luxury one? If you’re having a hard time picking a model, create a list of cars you want and list their pros and cons.
“Have a list of top choices of cars in case things don’t work out,” wrote Melanie Ong on Cosmo.ph. “Keep your dream car grounded in the reality of the budget you computed…and make sure to leave space in your budget for the other necessary costs of car ownership.”
Picture yourself driving your dream cars
“Imagine how it would look several years later. Does it look “right”? If you can’t actually park it at your house, at least imagine how it would look in your mind’s eye,” wrote Top Gear Philippines’ Andy Leuterio. To avoid buyer’s remorse, imagine yourself behind the steering wheel; if it looks right in your head and you can afford it, go ahead. Getting a car that doesn’t fit, is like staying in a loveless marriage. You don’t want that.
Talk to existing car owners
When choosing a car you can trust the word of seasoned motoring journalists, or check online resources, but it’s still good to seek the wisdom of those who have been there. Current car owners already know how things work. Learn from their experiences. Ask about important topics like maintenance, repair, comfort, etc. They can give you an honest feedback that will cut through the spiels of dealership agents.
Learn more about specifics
Owning a car is more than just buying convenience. You have tons of options to go through to get your perfect car. Do you prefer manual over automatic? Would you like the sleekness of black over the boldness of red? Diesel over gas? What about displacement? These questions may sound overwhelming but they will ultimately determine the car you’re driving—so choose wisely.
Every person’s first car is a momentous occasion. You must carefully study everything before you drive it out of the showroom.