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4 Things to Consider as You Shop for a New Car

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So you’re ready to shop for a new car (or a used one) — great! But before you get started, you need to think about a few things. There are a lot of factors to consider when you’re shopping for something as expensive as a vehicle, and while you probably already have an idea of things like how much seating or horsepower you need, there are some burning questions that you should take a closer look at before you part with any of your hard-earned money. Here are four things to consider as you shop for your next vehicle.

What is your budget?

Americans are operating under tight budgets these days. Yet this year, many of us will head out and buy a car for far more expensive than we can afford. Lured by the siren songs of “zero down” financing and options for those with “bad credit or no credit,” we’ll take our lenders at their word and bury ourselves in debt. That may give us our dream vehicle in the short-term, but it can trigger financial disasters in the long-term.

Don’t let yourself become one of these people. Do the research yourself and make sure that you really can afford the car that you want to buy. Take all of your potential expenses into account, from the down payment to the maintenance and gas costs.

What about our planet’s future (and your wallet’s present)?

Gas-guzzling cars have played a major role in environmental problems like pollution and global warming. And, if you’re not careful, a gas guzzler could also play a major role in draining your wallet! Gas isn’t cheap, and if your car is burning through it faster than is necessary, you’re going to feel the pinch.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are now plenty of great environmentally friendly cars, including those that take alternate fuels, say the experts at a BioFuel company that handles used oil collections and other important tasks that make biofuels possible. Opting for a hybrid, an electric car, or even just a car that gets great gas mileage can help you save money while feeling better about your impact on our planet.

How will your vehicle of choice depreciate?

There are a lot of cars, trucks, SUVs, minivans, and other vehicles out there, and virtually all of them have at least one thing in common: They’re going to drop in value over time (and over the course of the miles you drive). It’s called depreciation, and it’s a certainty with most vehicles. But here’s the thing: Not all used and new cars depreciate at the same rate.

When you’re shopping for a vehicle, it pays to know which makes and models are known for holding their value — and which aren’t. Of course, you should remember that your dedication in caring for your vehicle will have a huge impact on its resale value down the line, too.

Where will you buy it?

Even after you’ve narrowed down your criteria and are well on your way to identifying your dream car, there is still some work to be done. Shopping for a car isn’t something that everyone does the same way, and some tactics have big advantages over others.

Take shopping online, for instance. Many shoppers dislike the dealership experience, where opaque pricing systems and pushy sales associates leave them feeling like they’ve been ripped off. With online shopping, on the other hand, you can bid in auctions on sites like Auto Auction Mall, research while you shop, and do your shopping on your schedule. That can lead to a more pleasant shopping experience and a better deal for you.