The decision to buy a car, truck, or other type of vehicle can be very exciting. But, it can also be nerve-racking, as it is generally a big purchase for most people. Once you make the decision to buy a car, there are many more decisions to make. You have to decide on what vehicle make and model you want to buy, as well as whether you want a new car or a used car. These decisions go hand in hand with how much you can and want to spend on a car, and what payment options will work best for you. FindLaw's Buying a Car section provides information and resources to help you with buying a car and figuring out payment options. More specifically, you can find articles about private and dealer used car sales, how car financing works, and some general tips for buying a car.
General Tips for Purchasing a Car
When you're planning to buy or lease a new car, it's important to do your research and review all of the relevant information before making a final decision. First, you'll need to decide what kind of car both suits your needs and your budget. Another important consideration when picking a car is fuel economy. A car that gets more miles per gallon is not only good for your budget, it's also good for the environment.
Once you decide on the car you want, you should research the car seller. Many people prefer to buy from car dealerships because they find them to be a safer bet. You can research car dealers by checking with your state or local consumer protection agency and Better Business Bureau. If you decide to buy a car from an individual, you should make sure you are dealing with the actual owner of the car, which can be done by checking the title of the car.
It's important to also take the car for a test drive. For a new car, this gives you the opportunity to see if you like how the car handles the road. A test drive is even more important when buying a used car because you can check to make sure the car drives well. A test drive will allow you to also check things like the radio, air conditioning and heating unit, and listen for any odd noises the car might make during the drive and while idling.
Finally, make sure you read and understand every document that you are required to sign. It might seem long and tedious - especially when buying a car from a dealership - but you want to make sure that you know what you are agreeing to. Those documents are a legal contract and it's easier to back out of a deal before you sign documents rather than after.
Payment Options When Buying a Car
When buying a car, you generally have two choices: finance the car over time or pay in full. If you finance the car, you end up paying more for the car because you'll also be paying for the cost of credit. The cost of credit is basically interest and other costs associated with a loan. However, many people don't have enough cash to pay for the car in full, so financing is a good option as long as you review and understand the terms for of the financing agreement.
There are various considerations to keep in mind when choosing a loan. You'll have to consider the amount of money you can put down, the length of the loan, what your monthly payments will be, and the annual percentage rate (APR). Generally speaking, APRs are higher and loan periods are shorter on used cars than on new cars. It's important to research and compare offers when choosing a loan. It's also in your best interest to understand the terms of your loan before signing a loan agreement.
Hiring a Consumer Attorney
Buying, financing, or leasing a car doesn't usually require the help of an attorney. However, if you think you've purchased a lemon or are the victim of dealer fraud, you might want to contact a local attorney to discuss your legal options.