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Buying a Car? Here’s What You Should Know

If you are thinking about buying or leasing a car, there’s a lot to consider before you make a final decision.

First, you need to decide what type of car will fit your needs and your budget. With so many choices available in the car market, setting a budget first helps you narrow down your search based on what you can afford.

Other important considerations include safety measures, fuel economy, and the credibility of the dealer or individual selling you the car.

  • Safety: Many tests are done on car safety before any vehicles hit the roads. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety are just two places you can check on a car’s safety rating and features. You can also find out from NHTSA if a vehicle has been recalled for safety defects.
  • Title: If you’re buying from an individual seller, it is important to check on the title to make sure you are working with the actual vehicle owner. You can check on the title with your local Better Business Bureau. Just enter your zip code, and you’ll find an office to assist you. If you’re buying from a dealer, you can check on their credibility with your local consumer affairs office.
  • Leasing: If you are considering leasing a car, make sure you ask the dealer for all of the financial information up front, including details on wear and tear standards, if there is a limit on how many miles you can drive a year, the manufacturers warranty and more.
  • Financing: Whether you’re leasing or buying a car, most people have to do some type of financing when purchasing a vehicle. Two common types are direct lending or dealership financing. It’s important to do your research so you know which type of financing is right for you. The Federal Trade Commission explains your options and defines financing lingo so you can be prepared.

Learn more about what you should consider before buying a car.