Your Personal Checklist: 10 Things to Keep in Mind When Buying a New Car

When buying a new car, it’s easy to let yourself be entrapped in the dream of cruising down the beach street while the sun sets down. You can almost see it turning into reality with the keys in your hand and the sales clerk telling you how much your life is going to change for the better. However, if you don’t want to regret your decision later on, you should never purchase a new car on impulse. Instead, it’s best to the following 10 principles:

1. Give it a spin first

Going for a test drive will give you a better feel for how well the car really sits with you. Maybe you like its looks, but after driving it for a couple of blocks, you might find that it’s not really that comfortable or just doesn’t feel right. Most, if not all car dealerships, will let you do this without raising an objection.

If you’re planning on buying a used car, testing it out becomes that much more important, as you want to make sure there are no rattles, scratches, funny noises or anything out of the ordinary. Obviously, this is not going to be a concern when buying new, but to put your mind at ease, be sure to check how long the insurance you’re getting with it covers you.

2. Compare prices online

According to, comparing prices online is one of the most important things you should be doing. You’d be surprised how often the same model can be found at a more affordable pricing somewhere else. Oftentimes, you’ll see online price comparison tools, which is what you should be looking for; these have been designed to make your search as simple and time-efficient as possible.

If you’re just scouting the marketplace, these types of engines also make it incredibly easy to search for a specific brand, model, year of production, etc. Furthermore, many sellers are willing to match the prices if you can show them that another dealership is offering the same car for way cheaper. Therefore, knowing the cheapest prices will give you a good leverage when negotiating.

3. Discuss the purchase with your insurance agent

Before making the purchase, you should probably discuss it with your insurance agent first. The reason being is that no two cars are the same and the costs are different when it comes to insuring each individual one. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you’ve already purchased one, only to find out it costs much more to insure than others.

While you’re there, you can learn many useful things such as knowing the options which car insurance types are available to you, as well as vehicle service contracts. Don’t forget to make some price comparisons here as well; only that way will you be able to secure the best insurance deal possible.

4. Don’t get pressured into buying what you don’t need

In order to make more money, the dealerships will often try to sell you expensive add-ons you don’t really need. Despite being valuable in their own merit, you shouldn’t just take everything bundled with your purchase. Instead, evaluating everything they offer you separately is the right way to go about it.

Ask yourself this: do you really need paint protection or key insurance? Even if the answer is affirmative, you might not be offered the best deal out there. In case you feel the salesman is trying to pressure you into it, you should be varied – this is often a red flag. Some of them try to hide the real cost of the product behind monthly payments; don’t get suckered into it. Bring a calculator and determine how much it’s going to cost you in a year or so.

5. Decide on the type of transmission

What do you prefer – automatic or manual? If you’re unfamiliar with how to drive a car with the latter, now might not be the best time to make the switch (unless you’re willing to go the extra mile to learn the ropes). Those who find themselves driving their car often might prefer the automatic transmission, since it’s much less of a hassle to operate. In fact, those who used to drive cars with manual transmission and upgraded to the automatic ones, later on, are seldom willing to go back due to getting used to the extra comfort.

There is a drawback, however; cars with automatic transmission are known to consume more fuel, so if you’re traversing longer distances often, they might not be the best choice. If you tend to get stuck in traffic often, on the other hand, they can be a true life-saver. So always make the choice based on your preferences, level of experience, and the intended usage of your car.

6. Petrol or diesel?

There are notable differences between these two main types of cars. While covering every single detail is beyond the scope of this article, knowing the main differences between them could potentially be the single most important thing you’re going to learn today.

For starters, diesel cars are a more cost-effective solution if you’re traversing long distances. If you’re driving for less than 50 kilometers a day, however, the opposite may be the case, especially since diesel cars are more expensive to maintain in comparison. Also, try to keep in mind that most people find petrol cars easier and more comfortable to drive; their diesel counterparts feel a bit stiffer in comparison. Finally, diesel cars produce more toxic emissions, which is detrimental to the environment.

7. Safety is a consideration

In case you live in a dangerous area with a ton of reckless drivers, it’s of utmost importance that your car is fitted with the latest safety technology. This is also true if you often find yourself driving on highways where the speed meter can reach mind-numbing heights. Having a good safety system installed can be the difference between you surviving a potential accident or not.

Make sure that the car you’re eying has a good safety bag. If you want to take additional steps to guarantee your safety, make sure that the car has rear set airbags installed as well. Modern safety systems like ABS are also a must; luckily, the cars that you can find nowadays pretty much have it installed by default.

8. Don’t succumb to the sales consultant’s pressure

Yes, buying a new car is an experience packed full of emotions and excitement. We get it. Allowing yourself to be emotional for a bit is fine, as long as you don’t compromise your best judgment in the process. So if you’re feeling pressured by the sales consultant, take a step back and re-evaluate the situation, because chances are they’re trying to do what’s best for the interest of the company they’re working for and not yours.

Don’t be too kind and submissive, but there’s no need to be rude either. Simply walk a fine line between being kind and assertive. A smile will get you quite far. Do know, however, that you always have the option to walk away if you believe you’ve been offered a bad deal. Not being confident enough to do so is the only way you can be defeated (but this can be prevented as long as you keep your senses focused).

9. How strong does the engine need to be?

Don’t believe that picking a car with a smaller engine will lead to money savings. This is a myth! Yes, a smaller engine will consume a smaller amount of fuel… in theory that is. The fact of the matter is that in order to make them withstand the workload that’s being thrown at them, they need to be heated more, which leads to not-so-economic fuel economy.

Higher displacement engines mostly remain idle, which sort of averages out the fuel economy. In order to get them performing their best, there is no need to put excess pressure on them. So what’s the takeaway? Without making it too complicated, you should always pick the engine based on what you’re going to be using the car for and what type of environment you’ll most often encounter.

10. Check the resale value

Generally speaking, new cars are not that great of an investment, since their value quickly goes down after the initial purchase. However, cars produced by certain manufacturers have higher resale value than others. In the end, you need to be the judge – do you quickly get tired of your vehicle and feel the need for some fresh air? Then this might be more relevant to you than the other drivers.

In general, bear in mind that European cars are not the best when it comes to preserving value. Japanese cars, on the other hand, are the complete opposite. Those who cannot bear the notion of seeing their cars lose so much value in so little time should consider buying a used car instead.


While this is by no means the end of the story, these 10 guidelines should be more than enough to cover the most important things you need to know when buying a new car. And when you finally do, you’ll be able to treat yourself to a good night’s sleep, knowing that you’ve made a choice that you won’t regret anytime soon.

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