Are You in the Market for a New Car?

I am. My car is 6 years old, I’m about to hit 100,000 miles and my daughters are getting older. I currently drive a compact car, which I LOVE, but I think we need a bit more space. I still want good gas mileage, but I do want an SUV, so I may be asking for a lot.

Anyway, there are a few things you want to consider when shopping for a new car. I’ve listed 6 of those considerations below.

6 Things to Consider When Purchasing a New Car

1. Trade In

My car is practically paid for, but your may not be. If you owe more on your current vehicle than it’s worth, you will be upside down on your new loan. This means that, once the bank pays off your current loan, it will add the difference to the balance on your new loan. You may end up paying more than your current vehicle is worth when all the paperwork is signed.

Some people don’t trade in their vehicle at the dealership. Instead, they keep the car or sell it privately. If you decide to keep your current vehicle and still have a car payment, make sure you can afford both the current and new payments at the same time. You can also sell your vehicle privately and you’ll likely sell it for more money than if you sold it to a car dealer. You’ll have to decide which is the best option for your present circumstances.

Car Insurance Quotes Soccer Mom2. Insurance Rates

When you purchase a new vehicle, your insurance rates will likely increase. Even if you don’t know the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of the new vehicle, you can contact your insurance carrier with the year, make, model and trim, and they’ll give you a ballpark estimate. You can ask for the 6 or 12 month premium and they can also provide you with the monthly premium. This way you’ll be able to compare your current rates to your new rates, with the assumption that you’ll keep your coverages the same. Write these figures down so you’ll have them handy when you’re negotiating the purchase price. You want to make sure that you can afford, not only the new video, but also the premiums.

Also, this may be a good time to consider shopping around for auto insurance. Gather your auto insurance documents and your laptop, and shop for auto insurance online. You can go to comparison websites like and receive rates from multiple companies in just a few minutes.

3. Registration and Tax Costs

When I lived up north we didn’t pay annual vehicle taxes. I was absolutely confused when I learned that in both North and South Carolina you pay vehicle taxes every single year, and that they can be in the hundreds of dollars each year. I wasn’t prepared for that. Now, I budget for the vehicle and registration costs every year, and am glad to see they decrease as your vehicle gets older. These costs can add several hundred dollars to your vehicle costs each year.

4. Maintenance Costs

Even new cars need maintenance. You’ll have oil changes every few months, and a new battery, tires, and tune ups every few years. Don’t forget to budget these into your monthly or annual costs, so that, when the maintenance issues come up, you don’t have to go into your savings to pay for them. It also means that, because you can afford the maintenance costs, you won’t delay them and cause more problems.

5. Gasoline Costs and Mileage

Lastly, consider the gas mileage. If your vehicle gets good gas mileage, you’ll be able to save at the gas pump when comparing costs to vehicles that have not-so-good mileage. If your car is affordable but you have to use premium gasoline or the miles per gallon is low, then you’ll spend a larger portion of your income filling up your gas tank.

6. Your car personality

When it comes to buying a new car, I know that I want it to cost less than $33,000, I want it to get more than 24 MPG, and I want an SUV. That leaves me limited choices for the brand of vehicle I will purchase. And while I’m a bit flexible on the cost, I’m less flexible on the mileage. While I do want an SUV, I don’t want a gas guzzler. It’s expensive and it’s not so great for the environment. You can take a car personality test here and see what type of car fits your personality.

When you’re making your car buying decision you’ll have to decide on what you can be flexible on and which of your requirements are must’s. Make a list, sit inside a few vehicle and ask your friends and co-workers for their preferences. By asking around I learned that I’ll likely never use the in-dash GPS and that most people don’t have sun roofs, let alone moon roofs. You’re the one who’s driving but it’s nice to have second opinions sometimes.

There’s a lot of things to consider when shopping for a new vehicle, more than I actually realized at first – and I was an insurance agent for over 10 years. Make a list and do some research online. You’ll be able to narrow down your choices and make a better decision in the end.

What is something you considered when you purchased your last vehicle? What was the best piece of advice you received?

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