You’re buying a car, not a lemon

What to keep in mind when car shopping

Sarah Busse, Staff Reporter

Living in the United States, a car becomes a necessity for most at some point. Public buses can be helpful in get around to an extent but they do not go everywhere.  Depending on the route needed, it can make tasks such as going to the grocery store more simple than if you had your own vehicle. Having your own wheels can come with its own set of struggles as well but depending upon your needs, it can be worth it if you have the right car. Owning a vehicle can mean more independence, as long as your car is not a lemon that is constantly breaking down and leaving you stranded. To avoid this type of horrible vehicular experience, here is a list of some of the things to consider before taking the big step of purchasing your own set of wheels:


  1. Do you have the funds? Cars are expensive—not just the purchasing one, but maintaining one. It takes having money for gas, whippers, whipper fluids, periodic car washes and oil changes—at the very minimum assuming everything remains in working order.


  1. Identify what is you need versus what you want in a car. Do you need a car with lots of leg room because you are tall? Make sure that becomes one of you criteria so you feel comfortable while driving. Do you need heated seats? Probably not.


  1. Do your research. Car prices can very drastically especially for used cars. It is worth it to know what is on the market and also to get idea of what is reasonable price. Also it is good to know a particular cars history before purchasing so there are not any hidden surprises. In addition, definitely look up the reputation of particular model of car you are considering to see there seem to be any reoccurring problems the model seems to have.


  1. Take a Test Drive.  You cannot know how a car will feel to drive until you have driven it a bit. A car may have all the features you want but if it is not comfortable for you to drive you are not going to enjoy it. Also taking test drive helps to make sure as much as possible everything is in working order.


  1. Make sure you have the credit.  If you plan to purchase a car on your own for the first time, make sure you have some good credit built up or odds are you may not be getting a car let alone the car you want. If you know that you can definitely can handle as well as afford car then you can ask someone, like your parents, how have longstanding good credit to co-sign with you if need a car but just do not have the credit yet.

Remember while a car can mean more independence, it is also a big responsibility and expensive. Make sure you are ready for it before you decide to go through with making a purchase.  

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