Purchasing a new vehicle can be a thrilling experience. Looking forward to taking your first drive of a vehicle with fresh, shiny paint and pristine interior can be enough to make your heart beat a little faster. Unfortunately, that can make it a little too easy to get caught up in the excitement as you wander the dealership. Here are tips so that you’re prepared before you become overcome by new car smell, eager salespeople, and a lot full of exciting vehicles with sparkling show plates.

Look Beyond the New Car Smell

Obviously, the first thing is to consider the basics before you ever visit the lot. Make a list of your budget for the vehicle and what key features are important to you. Fuel economy, the number of people it will comfortably transport, expected resale value, storage capacity, and how well it will fit in your garage or company parking space can all be key issues. Keep in mind if you’ll need to be able to transport your parents, kids, pets, sporting equipment, or clients. That sexy sports car that catches your eye at the dealership might seem perfect unless you realize your extended family will never fit into the back.

Expect the Unexpected

Remember that your needs now may not be the same in a few years. That could leave you stuck in a lease agreement or owning a car that no longer works for your lifestyle. In a few years your two-seater sports car may need to be replaced by a car that can accommodate a child car seat as your single life turns into married bliss. Perhaps your grandparents will no longer be able to climb in and out of your macho pickup truck or you switch to a job that requires you to make a different commute or park in another location. You may still end up buying the same sports car but thinking about your future needs may enable you to make better purchase or leasing option decisions today.

Know Repair Options

All vehicles are not created equal and that is particularly true when repairs are needed. Research ahead of time to find out if a particular make or model of car is going to be extremely expensive or time consuming to have fixed. If you’ll plan to own the vehicle beyond a lease period, make sure there are other local mechanics who service that type of car so you aren’t forced to always visit the dealership for help. Keep in mind that a rare car might be easy to have repaired in your current city but it could become a problem if your career leads you to live in a different area.

Crime Rates

Some types of vehicles are magnets for car thieves. That can be because the vehicle is expensive but it can also be due to how easy a particular car is to steal. Do some research to find out if the type of car you’re considering is likely to become part of the crime statistics in your area. This can be particularly important if you are likely to need to park on the street or other unsecured locations on a regular basis.

Minor Details

We tend to focus on how the car drives but small features can make the difference between a car you love and one you find disappointing. Take a few moments to investigate the details that make a vehicle more functional. Make sure you can comfortably charge your phone, store your important belongings, adjust your seat comfortably, and fit your sporting gear into the back. You don’t want your new car excitement to turn to annoyance because of badly positioned cup holders or a car locking mechanism that makes an annoying “honk” sound when activated. These minor details can make a huge different in your satisfaction over the life of your car.

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