Buying an Affordable Vehicle: Zeck’s How-To Guide
Throughout a person’s lifetime, they will own many different cars. To put a number on it, the average person owns approximately six vehicles over the course of their lives. This means that, at some point, they will ultimately end up going through the purchase process at least one more time in their life. Extremely diligent car owners may extend the lifetime of their car through maintenance, ultimately allowing the vehicle to last over decades. However, as car technology gets better and better, the question ultimately becomes, do we want to stick with the same car for decades?
The answer to that question often re-centers on budget. Using the same car for decades might save you from the expense of having to purchase a new vehicle. However, it doesn’t take into account how much you spend on repairs, maintenance, and gas (newer car models get much better gas mileage on average than older ones). Take some time to do the math on how much your old car costs you. If it costs more than $700 a month on average to maintain it, pay for gas, and pay for all the other associated car expenses, it might be time to consider a new car.
Whether you’re thinking about buying a new car because it might save you money or because you need one, everyone is interested in making sure their vehicle is affordable. Buying a car at Zeck Auto is a first step, but there are other ways to make sure the car you get is affordable.
Here’s our how-to guide to buying an affordable vehicle.
1) Work out your budget – how much can you afford to spend on a car each month?
Before you buy a car, you must understand precisely how much you can afford to spend on one. Pull up your online bank account and make a list of how much you spend on your most recent car per month. Then, determine how many other monthly financial obligations you have, including how much you should be setting aside in savings each month.
At this point, subtract all of this with your monthly take-home income after taxes. This will help you see how much spending money you have available after you take care of everything you need to take care of. Using this, you can determine the amount you would be comfortable paying per month toward a new car. This step is significant because it will also help you understand exactly how much you have for a down payment, as well as whether you will need to look for a used car or a new car.
2) Come up with a list of highly-rated sellers in your area.
Rather than rushing to the first dealership you see, do a little research on the dealers in your area. Examine what types of cars they sell, their customer satisfaction rating, and more. Zeck Auto serves the Purcell, Norman, Moore, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma region. Our dealerships have been highly-rated time and time again, and our Ford Dealership in Leavenworth, Kansas, won Dealer Rater’s dealership of the year award.
3) Determine what type of car is right for you.
Rather than coming up with a list of dream cars that include makes and models, come up with a list of characteristics you’d like from a car. The goal of this exercise is to remain flexible – record preferred car brands, whether you’re looking for a sedan, SUV, or truck, and aim for a year in which you are interested. This will allow you to find the best deal on a car when you look for one.
4) Take someone who knows cars with you, and be prepared to ask questions.
You shouldn’t buy a car without asking questions about it beforehand. If you don’t know much about cars, take a trusted friend or relative with you to ask car-savvy questions about the vehicles in which you’re interested. Asking questions will help determine the condition of the car and whether or not it is worth the price.
5) Test drive the car before making a deal.
Additionally, you should always test drive a car before you make any decisions about it. A good test drive should leave you feeling confident about the condition of the vehicle (as well as how you feel about the car!) If you notice any engine noises, rumbles when you stop at lights, or any other concern, bring it up to the seller as soon as you get back.
6) Check the vehicle history report before you buy.
Even if the car looks great, you should always look into the history of the vehicle before making a purchase. Reputable dealerships, like Zeck Auto, will provide a detailed auto history which will show any repairs, replacements, and significant issues with the car.
7) Get the car inspected or ensure it has been through an inspection process.
If you are buying a used car, you should always take it to a trusted mechanic for an outside opinion. The most trustworthy seller doesn’t always know all the issues with the car, so getting an outside view mainly ensures that you never have to deal with car trouble immediately after purchase. At Zeck Auto, all our used cars go through a 120-point inspection before being put on the lot, so that our customers can remain confident their investment will go the distance.
8) Stick to your budget, even if that means buying used.
Sometimes we see a car we love and realize that it’s just slightly out of our budget. Although it might be tempting to overspend to get the vehicle of your dreams, we recommend staying loyal to all the work you did before purchase by sticking to your budget. This might mean not getting that fancy muscle car or newer model, but you will thank yourself for it down the line. Plus, Zeck Auto has a wide selection of reliable used vehicles, all priced under $10,000.
Get started on your journey toward affordable transportation today! Visit one of our Zeck Auto locations to learn more.