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What can you actually afford?
Surely this is the first thing you think about right? Well, yes. But you'd be surprised just how many people have only the vaguest idea of what their budget is. It's not just a matter of the price of the car but how exactly you're going to pay for it. Do you buy or lease? The dealership might try to pressure you into leasing but make sure you think twice. Figuring out exactly what you're paying for when you lease can be confusing and can leave you paying more without realizing it. Buying the car might seem like a bigger investment but can actually work out a far better option in the long run. Remember that you will probably get plenty of years of service on the car after it's paid off. Avoid payment periods that go on for too long as well. The last thing you want is to end up paying more than the car is actually worth.
The time of year
This is one of the most surprising things when buying a car. People almost never think about the season they're buying their vehicle in. But the weather and temperature can make a huge amount of difference. For example, have you always dreamed of owner that perfect convertible? Consider waiting until the winter months come around. Convertibles are actually more expensive in the summertime. The same goes for the economic state of things. If gas prices go up, then you'll see people queuing up at your local Vauxhall dealer to buy the Corsa 1.3 CDTi ecoFlex. Suddenly the more economical cars become more valuable commodities.
What will it cost to own?
Sadly, the costs of a car don't stop once you've bought it. One of the smartest things you can do is to carefully assess exactly how much a car will cost to run. Figure out how much your average mileage will be and use that to calculate what your fuel costs will be. You also need to get an accurate quote on your insurance. Make sure to tell the insurer the exact make, model, engine size and any other details to get the most accurate post possible.
Buying a car is always a potentially risky proposition. The key is to remember that a car dealership is a business and they will do everything they can to make a sale. Being as informed as possible will put you in a great position to get the best deal on whatever car you choose.