Tips for College-Age Women: Buying Your First Car -- Part Three
Once you've figured out what cars you probably don't want to buy, as we discussed in part one of this series, and have considered such things as insurance and maintenance cost considerations and finding the actual vehicle, as we discussed in the second part of this series, here are some final tips to consider before you make that trip to the dealership:
1. If you find a vehicle online on a dealership lot, DO NOT just show up and ask to see the car. ALWAYS call an Internet Manager for the dealership to determine if the vehicle is available, and try to establish some rapport with this person. ALWAYS make an appointment. And show up on time. Take your notes with you. It would be a good idea to have an adult accompany you, even if they are not going to be involved in the purchase.
2. Check CarFax for any accident or incident reports on the vehicle. Avoid considering any vehicle that has an accident showing.
3. If credit is required to purchase a vehicle, do the credit check over the phone before you go to the dealership. If someone is helping you purchase the vehicle, then make every effort you can to be included as a co-buyer on the contract, as this is extremely important in establishing your credit.
4. You may want to consider some type of maintenance plan from the finance department, in case of unforeseen mechanical failure. This is not a must, and keep in mind that adding on any plan will increase your monthly payment and total amount to be paid. On the other hand, a serious breakdown can devastate you financially.
5. A down payment of some amount will almost always be required. If monthly payments are involved, NEVER allow the payments to exceed your ability to meet them, as this will not only affect your credit rating, but may even allow your vehicle to be repossessed.
6. Dealerships will not allow you to take possession of a vehicle without insurance in place. Make arrangements with an insurance company beforehand, and upon the purchase, supply the insurance company with the details by fax at the dealership. Dealerships will be happy to assist you with this.
Now that you've read all three parts of this series, do your homework, and go get your vehicle. Cherish it, drive carefully, and keep it clean and maintained regularly. The odds are you will be using it as a trade on your next purchase. Keep in mind that life is about taking care of things.
Tom Procter is a former California public school teacher, businessman, published author, and has 18 years as internet manager with Saturn, Ford, GMC, Subaru, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, and Acura.