The process of buying a new car will always be fraught with excitement and uncertainty, whether you are a first-time buyer or not. However, it is always a huge deal for first time buyers, even though you may have already been driving the family car.

Buying a car is not like buying a magazine subscription or a new suit – the decision requires a high-level of involvement. After all, you will be spending hard-earned money on something that could be of good value to you many years later. It is therefore important that you get it right.

The following steps will help you choose your dream car… or something close.

Set up a realistic budget

When it comes down to establishing a budget for a new car, there’s no room for dilly dallying. If you can pay in cash, that’s good. Otherwise, an installment arrangement is the next option. It is advisable to go for something you can conveniently pay per month.

In most cases, the nature of the transaction often determines the leverage of financing. It is therefore important that your cost of living isn’t affected by your new purchase. When choosing a budget, consider important things like fuel costs, maintenance, insurance and so on. This should inform your budget decisions.

Establish your transportation needs

What is the true story regarding your transportation needs?

You may want to get yourself an Audi A1 convertible and race free in the wind, but stop and think for a moment. If you have a budding family with two children, therefore a minivan or pickup will likely be more logical. Also, think about school runs, you’ll be better off taking your children to school or buying the groceries when you have an accommodating vehicle.

Be careful not to buy what you don’t need.

Research the car

Now you hae probably found a car you truly need and within you budget, the next step is research. You want to know all you need to about it. Does it have a common problem? Some car models are renowned for having certain functional flaws, when others simply don’t have easily available parts.

Research informs you of these issues, so you can decide if they are something you can manage. Other factors you might want to find out is the speed limit, room for radar detectors (check Gadget Review for comparisons), and fuel consumption rate.

Seek out a trusted dealer

Check online for suitable showrooms in your area. If they have a robust website, you could do your window shopping there. While some people are comfortable buying cars online, others would rather do research and comparison online before completing sales at an auto shop.

The thrill of a test drive is still something you can partake in. Take the car for a short spin and see if you feel comfortable driving it. How is the transmission? Is the engine smooth? Too noisy or smoky for your liking? Do you see yourself (and family) in the car?

Be mindful of situations where the salesperson tries convince you into going against your wishes. Find out whether there is a warranty and other additional details. If it is a used car, you can find out from certain websites about its history.

It’s good to know if a car has been in an accident before, as besides the pricing, it could also determine your willingness to buy. While some people don’t care about the history, others would rather not have anything to do with a post-accident refurbished vehicle.

After the test run, if you feel good about the vehicle, go ahead and buy it. Whether it’s a new or a used car, there’s always a sense of pride in owning your very first car.