find a carAre you looking for your first car, or do you want to upgrade to a newer vehicle? If you’re shopping for your first or second car, chances are you’d like some help in picking the best car for you. Here are some tips to help you:

Always Test Drive — If you’re going to buy a car, it’s important that you know how it runs before you make the final decision. Make sure to test drive any car you’re considering buying. It will help you to feel the way the car handles, and you’ll be able to determine if it runs well for you. Regardless of whether you’re buying a new car or a used one, always take the car out for a short test drive before buying it.

Look Online — Before you go out looking for a car, why not do some research on the internet? You can find out which car will give you the best mileage, which one will be the best for your particular needs, and which car will be least likely to give you problems. Find out as much about the cars you’re considering as possible, and you’ll be much more easily able to buy the car that will be ideal for you and your situation.

Check Carfax Before Buying — When you find yourself a car that you want to buy, wait just a moment before signing the paperwork or writing the check. Log onto, and take a few moments to check out the vehicle history. You may find that the vehicle has been in a serious accident, which could ruin the car. You may find that the car is stolen, or that it has a lien on it. Make sure to find out whether or not the car can legally be sold to you, and whether or not there is anything that could have damaged the car.

Consider Used Cars — You shouldn’t automatically consider buying a new car, especially if it’s your first or second car. You probably don’t need a brand new vehicle, much less afford one. Consider buying used vehicles, such as from local lots or websites like You can find great deals on used cars, and you’ll find that the cars will be just as good as the brand new cars — but sold at a much lower price. You can save yourself a small fortune and still end up with a quality car if you buy used.

What About Leasing? — Leasing a car may not be the ideal solution for you, but it will enable you to get a high quality, brand new car for a reasonable price. You will end up paying a fixed amount each month on the car and insurance, and the price will not go up unless you damage the car. You’ll find that you won’t lose any money if you can’t afford to continue the car payments, but you can drive around a fancy, brand new car for a great price!

Avoid Buying on Credit — If you are going to buy a car, always try to have the money on hand before buying it. Seeing as it’s your first car, it’s a hefty initial investment. If you buy on credit, you may end up being unable to pay off the car — which can ruin your credit score. Make sure that you have a solid plan for paying off the car on credit, or just buy it with cash as much as possible.

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  1. Not only should you avoid buying on credit but PLEASE, if you have to get credit, don’t do it at a “Buy Here, Pay Here” car dealer. Their cars are usually overpriced, of horrible quality and the terms of the loans are ridiculous. I know of at least one young man that made that mistake and was paying $400 a month for a 20 year old POS. I’m convinced that those dealers repossess half the cars they sell on credit and just cycle them back into their inventory for the next unsuspecting victim

  2. When I bought my first car I was young but the two things I’m happy I did was 1- bought a used car and 2- saved to pay with cash. Until then I took public transportation, walked, biked etc.

  3. These are all great tips! I financed a $25,000 car when I was in my early twenties and it was a huge pain to pay that thing off. I have never forgotten the struggle that it caused!

  4. I’ve never actually bought a new car. Only ever used. I’m not sure I will buy a New car unless the math works out REALLY strongly in favor. It just seems to be a better deal!

  5. Last year we purchased my wife a brand new car, because she has never had one and I said I would buy her one. We ended up with exactly what she wanted and got a pretty solid deal. Not sure we will ever get another brand new car for either of us (we have both had one) especially knowing my dad buys a new car every 3 – 5 years and I can just purchase his old one.

  6. Thanks for sharing this one.
    Your tips are great and simple yet effective and reasonable.
    I really like the “consider used cars” as buyers should really consider the purpose of the car that they are aiming to buy.

  7. Great advice on steps to take before buying a first car. As you mentioned, it is really important to run a vehicle history report. Not only can this alert you to potential issues with the title, it also may alert you to potential odometer rollback fraud. There are several vehicle history providers available, and the important thing is to find out where they get their data. You should look for an approved NMVTIS, AAMVA and NADA data provider. Here is an article on VIN checks and why they are important