I want to...
Understand Vehicle Basics
* Vehicle needs
* Vehicle research
* Buying a new or used vehicle
* Buying a new car
* Buying a used car
* Value of your trade-in
* Dealer or private sale
* Before you buy
The first step in buying a vehicle is to determine what your vehicle needs are.
* Do you have a sizeable family or head up a carpool? You may want to think about a minivan, wagon, or large sport utility vehicle (SUV).
* Do you live in an area where you need four–wheel drive? You may want to think about an SUV with all–wheel or four–wheel drive.
* Do you travel far? If you log a lot of miles, you may want to research cars that get good gas mileage, like a hybrid car.
* Do you have a towing requirement — perhaps you need to tow a horse trailer or a boat? You may want to consider a heavy–duty pick–up truck or an SUV with a towing package.
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Next, figure out how much you can afford to spend. You should set a reasonable price range for the vehicle and begin to eliminate vehicles that are out of that price range. Consider how much you can afford for monthly payments based on your income and other monthly expenses. Be sure to include the costs of gas, insurance and upkeep.
Calculate how much you can afford
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You can visit dealerships to do your research and go on test drives, but you should also read vehicle reviews in magazines and on the Internet. You can learn which vehicles are given high marks for safety, which ones get the best gas mileage, and so on. Once you’ve narrowed your list down to a few possibilities, read as many reviews on those makes and models as you can. Some good places to look for both professional and consumer car reviews are:
* MotorTrend magazine
* Automobile magazine
* Car and Driver.com