Thinking about taking the leap and buying a new car? When it comes to selecting your next vehicle, there are hundreds of makes and models to choose from. Whether you already have something in mind or you’re going into the process with no firm ideas, there are certain things that you need to consider before you go any further. Here, we help you to assess some important areas when you’re searching for your new car.

How will you finance your purchase?

Most people don’t have the cash available to pay for a new car in full, so it’s likely that you’re going to have to carefully consider how you’ll finance your purchase. Luckily, there are plenty of options available to you, and most of them are stress-free. What’s important here is that you do your research and you fully understand the terms and conditions of any finance that you take out. This will help you to plan your budget, and avoid any nasty surprises further down the line! It’s not always necessary to pay a lump sum in advance, but it could help you to keep your monthly repayments down. Assess all of your options so you can work out what’s best for you.

What extras will you need to budget for?

Your car payment is likely to be the biggest expense, but don’t forget the extras that can really mount up. It’s wise to budget for these from the very beginning. You should consider fuel, services and maintenance, and even parking.

What do you really need?

You might be thinking that you’d love a little sports car, but if you have three kids and two dogs, it probably isn’t the most realistic option! Your purchase is likely to have to last you a couple of years at least, so think about what you’ll be using your car for during that time. Will you be making long distant journeys? Will you be carrying passengers? Will you be doing a lot of motorway driving? Try to create a picture of how you’ll be using the car, and this can really help you to establish what you need.

What little extras would you like?

If you’re going to spending a decent chunk of your time in your car on your daily commute or on longer journeys, you’ll probably want a few extra luxuries that can make the driving experience more pleasurable. It might not be realistic to have everything, but you can usually stretch to some additions. These might include a sound system if you like listening to music, or a built-in sat-nav system if you tend to travel to new areas. If you’re buying a second-hand vehicle then your options might be a bit more limited, though there can sometimes be the option to make adjustments to your vehicle at a later date.

What level of safety and reliability do you require?

It goes without saying that you will want a car that will protect you if you are involved in an accident, and won’t require frequent trips to the garage. For detailed information on how the car you have in mind measures up, look up consumer reports. This will give you a good idea of what to expect, and which cars you might want to avoid altogether.

Buying a new car isn’t a decision that you should rush into, and it’s really important that you give some careful thought and consideration to these key areas. Once you’ve done your research and collected all the information you need, you’ll be in a great position for making an informed decision.