21 Important Questions to Ask When Buying a New Car
Purchasing a brand new car is a big decision, and you want to make sure you have all of the right information to make a good one.
Asking the right questions before buying a new car can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
Here are some of the top questions to ask when buying a new car.
What are the differences between buying new versus buying used?
Table of Contents
- 1 - Do I Need a New Car?
- 2 - What Do I Like and Dislike About My Current Vehicle?
- 3 - What Is My Budget?
- 4 - What Kind of Vehicle Do I Need?
- 5 - What Safety Features Does the Vehicle Have?
- 6 - Is My Family Still Growing?
- 7 - How Will I Finance the Purchase?
- 8 - Can You Beat My Financing Offer?
- 9 - How Will a New Car Purchase Affect My Insurance Premiums?
- 10 - What Will I Do With My Old Car?
- 11 - What Do the Customer Reviews Say?
- 12 - What’s the Mileage?
- 13 - Can I Test Drive the Vehicle on the Highway?
- 14 - Can I Test Drive a Used Version?
- 15 - What Is the Warranty?
- 16 - What Are the Predicted Maintenance Costs After the Warranty?
- 17 - What Incentives Are Available?
- 18 - What Is the Out-the-Door Price?
- 19 - What Is the Full Purchase Agreement?
- 20 - Do You Deliver Cars?
- 21 - Why Should I Buy a Car From You Instead of Someone Else?
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1 - Do I Need a New Car?
Even if you need to upgrade your car, buying new is not the only option. You could also consider buying used or leasing a new car. Before purchasing a brand new car, evaluate your needs to determine if buying a new one is the best for you.
2 - What Do I Like and Dislike About My Current Vehicle?
Buying a new car is a chance to get something that is a better fit for you than your current car. Before diving into the features and specs you want, take a look at your current car. What do you love about it? What do you wish you could change? Examining your likes and dislikes for your current car gives you a great starting point to guide your new car buying process.
3 - What Is My Budget?
Starting your new car search without a clear budget is a big mistake that can easily get you in over your head. Determine what your budget is before beginning to look. For most people, it’s helpful to consider their budget for monthly payments. Make sure to leave a little room in your budget for unexpected expenses or to pay off your loan faster.
4 - What Kind of Vehicle Do I Need?
Simplify your new car search by determining what you are looking for. Consider qualities like size, comfort, fuel efficiency, reliability, safety, and more. Evaluate your lifestyle to figure out the type of vehicle you actually need.
5 - What Safety Features Does the Vehicle Have?
The safety of a vehicle is extremely important, especially for those with kids or frequent passengers. Modern cars often include many advanced safety features that buyers could miss unless they ask.
6 - Is My Family Still Growing?
It can be easy to overlook the future and focus on your current new car needs and wants. Don’t just think about your family’s needs now, consider the future as well. The last thing you want to do is sell the car within a year or two because it no longer meets your needs.
7 - How Will I Finance the Purchase?
You can either pay cash, arrange financing through a bank or credit union, or use dealer financing. Assess which payment method works best for you based on your monthly budget, savings, additional expenses, and preapproval rates.
8 - Can You Beat My Financing Offer?
Most new car dealers provide financing options. However, they often have higher interest rates to ensure profitability on their financing. Come ready with third-party financing preapprovals and ask the dealer if they can beat them.
9 - How Will a New Car Purchase Affect My Insurance Premiums?
Typically, buying a new car increases insurance premiums. Contact your insurance company to find out how much buying a new car will increase insurance. If you already have a few specific makes and models you are looking at, ask the insurance company specifically about those vehicles. Many insurance companies have online tools you can use to examine your costs with different vehicles.
10 - What Will I Do With My Old Car?
Cars under 10 years old with under 100,000 miles may be eligible for a dealer trade-in. If you plan to trade in your car, negotiate this separately from your new car purchase price. Older cars or those with more miles would fair better via private sale. Of course, you can always keep your old car, especially if you have teens nearing the age of learning to drive. If you plan to trade in or sell your old car, ask the dealer if they can beat the appraisals you’ve gotten for its value.
11 - What Do the Customer Reviews Say?
Once you’ve found a vehicle or handful of vehicles you’re interested in, check out the customer reviews. Check car forums and third-party review sites to find out what real owners of the vehicle have to say. They will likely mention things you may not have considered and can help you learn what you need to make a wise decision.
12 - What’s the Mileage?
You’d think new cars would have essentially no miles, but that’s not always the case. Some dealers may allow people to test drive the cars on the lot and still market them as new. Find out how many times it’s been test-driven and what the mileage is.
13 - Can I Test Drive the Vehicle on the Highway?
Always test drive before buying a new car. You should test drive the same make and model as the car you are looking at. A test drive around the block won’t give you a clear idea of how the car handles your typical driving. Ask to drive it on the highway or anywhere else you typically drive.
14 - Can I Test Drive a Used Version?
In addition to test driving the new vehicle you want, also ask to test drive a used version (at least three years old) of the car. This will give you a great idea of how the car ages and what it will be like to drive a few years down the road.
15 - What Is the Warranty?
New cars include warranties, but the warranty length and terms can vary based on the manufacturer and dealer. You want to make sure you know the details of the warranty terms before purchasing a car.
16 - What Are the Predicted Maintenance Costs After the Warranty?
Warranties only cover a few years or a handful of miles. After the warranty runs out, you’ll be responsible for all maintenance and repairs. You want to get a good idea of how much this will cost over the vehicle's lifetime.
17 - What Incentives Are Available?
Dealers often have several incentives available for new cars, and many incentives can be combined for great savings. Not all incentives are advertised to the same extent. Ask about incentives available to you and ask the dealer if they can beat any other incentives you’ve seen or gotten from other dealers.
18 - What Is the Out-the-Door Price?
Do not negotiate a new car based on just the sales price. You need to know the out-the-door price to assess the total cost of purchasing the vehicle. The out-the-door price includes dealership fees, title, tax, and licensing fees. Most dealers will not provide this value unless asked.
19 - What Is the Full Purchase Agreement?
Always review the purchase agreement before signing to buy the car. This way you can see a breakdown of all fees and services and eliminate any add-ons you do not need.
20 - Do You Deliver Cars?
Car shoppers who are shopping online or at a dealership far away should inquire about delivery. Again, wait until the end of the purchasing negotiation to discuss delivery. If the dealership does delivery, make sure to find out about any delivery fees, the expected delivery time, and more.
21 - Why Should I Buy a Car From You Instead of Someone Else?
Reliable, knowledgeable dealers can give you a compelling answer to this tough question. Common answers will be low prices, service, and selection, but those are not differentiators. Consider a car dealer who goes beyond a surface-level response and can explain the value they offer.