September is a great month to consider buying a car and remains one of the most popular months for new car purchases. As new models hit the showrooms, manufacturers often offer some of the year’s best deals to move out older inventory to make way for the new. As a AAA member, we want to help you get the right vehicle for your needs, and we have a lot of resources to help.
If you’re considering buying a new (or new to you) vehicle, here are a few tips to help guide your decision:
Determine What Works for Your Budget
Sit down with your household budget and determine what is affordable before you start shopping for your new vehicle. Consider how much a trade-in is worth, how much you want to put towards the down payment and investigate your financing options. Insurance coverage will be the next most significant expense. Speak to a AAA insurance agent to get a rough estimate of premiums on the type of vehicle being considered. As a member, you’re eligible for exclusive discounts and rates with top-rated insurance companies.
Evaluate Driving Habits and Needed Features
Take a realistic look at how the vehicle will be used. What types of trips will it be used for? How many passengers will the vehicle need to carry? Will the vehicle be shared with other drivers? When making the list think about today’s needs and look several years down the road. And don’t forget to research safety ratings and features.
Review Maintenance Costs
Investigate the maintenance costs associated with the car by reviewing its recommended maintenance schedule. If you have a relationship with a trusted auto repair shop, such as a AAA Car Care Plus or AAA Approved Auto Repair facility, you should talk to them about costs to see if maintenance and repairs would be similar to your current vehicle or different due to special types of fluids, parts, etc.
Look into Warranty Options
Review the warranty for your top vehicle picks. Consider extending the financial protection a warranty brings with Mechanical Breakdown Coverage. Often Mechanical Breakdown Coverage offers more flexibility and can cost less than similar coverage through a dealer. Find out if Mechanical Breakdown Coverage may be the right option for you at AAA.com/BreakdownCoverage. Again, do your research and decide what makes the most sense for you before entering a dealership where there’s often uncomfortable sales pressure.