Do you think it’s time to buy a new car? Your old car could be on the way out and there are ways you can replace it, even in the middle of a global pandemic.

It’s not a good idea to run to your nearest dealership and hop in the first car that you think works for you. You could end up with a car that you can’t afford or doesn’t fill your needs.

What’s the one thing that will help prevent that from happening? New car checklists will. These are simple lists that walk you through the steps to purchase a new car.

You’ll be disciplined and focused as you go through the car buying process. Do you want to know what you have to have on your new car checklist?

Read on to find out how to buy a new car with a new car checklist.  

1. Buy, Lease, or Something Else

The first thing that you need to decide is if you should buy or lease your car. About a third of new car buyers lease their vehicle.

There are advantages to buying and leasing, but leasing isn’t right for everyone. If you travel a lot, you could go over your lease miles, costing you more money. On the upside, you can drive a car that you normally wouldn’t be able to afford.

Did you know that there are other options to get a new car other than to buy or lease? Some car manufacturers offer a car subscription service.

This is a service that is similar to renting a car. You pay a monthly subscription fee, which includes the car and insurance. You can subscribe for a few months or a couple of years.

2. Figure Out Budget and Financing

Once you know which buying route you’re going to take, you need to figure out how much you can spend each month.

There are three numbers to look at: the monthly payment, insurance, and maintenance. These are the numbers that will impact your monthly budget. You should keep your car expenses to about 20% of your income.

You should also factor in other numbers like the trade-in value of your current car or down payment. The higher the trade-in value, the lower your monthly payments can be.

If you plan on financing your car purchase, you’ll need to run a credit check first. A low credit score does impact your ability to get financing. You’re also likely to pay a higher interest rate.

The next step is to get preapproved for a car loan. This doesn’t automatically mean that you can secure a loan. You just know how much you can spend on a car purchase.

A preapproval letter helps you in more ways than that. Walking into a dealership with a preapproval letter is similar to cash. Dealers will take you more seriously.

3. Know What Kind of Car You Want

What do you need your car for? Do you just need a small car to get you from one place to another? Do you have to take your kids all over the place?

The more you know about your needs, the easier it is to narrow down the options to a few brands and models.

Do you want to buy Ford Mustang or another type of Ford vehicle? Then you can visit a Ford dealership. If you need a small car, you could look at Nissans or Toyotas as well.

4. Visit Dealerships

You should make a list of a few dealerships to visit as you narrow down your car options. If you don’t feel safe at a dealership because of COVID-19, you can contact dealers to see if they offer virtual test drives.

If you do visit a dealership in person, make sure that you bring your ID with you.

5. Negotiate an Offer

This is where a preapproval letter is so valuable. Dealers know that you’re ready to buy a car at that moment and they don’t want you to walk away.

They will be more willing to negotiate an offer with you. Be ready to drive a hard bargain and be willing to walk away if the dealer doesn’t offer a good deal.

6. Get Insurance

Getting this far into the process is so exciting that you may overlook one important step. You need to have the car insured before you drive it off the lot.

You can notify your current insurance company to transfer your policy to your new car. Just make sure that you understand your coverage.

7. Finalize the Deal

The final step is to sign the paperwork. If you’re working with a bank, you’ll need to work with them to get the loan and pay for the vehicle.

If you’re leasing the car, there will be other forms that need to be filled out. Read these forms carefully, because they spell out the terms of the lease. You could get hit with added fees that you didn’t know about.

How excited are you to drive off the lot in your new car? You have the keys in your hands and you can drive your new car home. You might want to take a detour on the way home to enjoy it.

New Car Checklists to Get the Best Car

How would you like to get a new car? The best way to get the best car at the right price is to use new car checklists like this one.

You won’t miss a beat and you’ll end up with a great car that fits your needs and your budget. You need to know what you want, how much you can afford, and work with a reputable dealership.

Ready for more great tips to buy a car? Check out the Buy Car section of this site.