Spring is car-buying season

The start of a new year may be a good time to make resolutions, but spring is the best time for new beginnings.

For many drivers, it’s the ideal season to purchase a new vehicle, especially now that the days are longer, the grass is greener and the driving conditions friendlier.

If it’s your first time buying a new car or truck, or you haven’t purchased one for a few years, here are some tips to help prepare you.

Like any major purchase, you should begin by doing your homework. What type of vehicle are you looking for? Do you need two doors or four? A hatchback or a trunk? Would a sport utility vehicle be a better fit for your lifestyle? Make a checklist of what you need (and want) in a vehicle.

Fuel efficiency is also a big factor for buyers today. Not only do many of us want to save on gas, buyers are also interested in doing their part to help cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. That can mean buying a smaller vehicle, a hybrid or an electric car. No matter what you choose, there are vehicles in each category, and in all shapes and sizes.

Some car buyers may have a particular brand in mind — either one they currently own, or that friends and family recommend. I’m a big believer in loyalty, but also encourage car buyers to step out of their comfort zone when shopping for vehicles. You may not purchase that other brand, but it’s worth checking out what else is on the market. Car companies and models are continually evolving and the one your parents owned a few years ago may be completely different today.

Set a budget. Once you’ve decided what you want and need in a vehicle, decide how you’ll pay for it. Remember there are different options for car buying including purchasing it outright, financing or leasing. How you pay for your new vehicle is a personal choice. Some people like to pay up front, while others might lease if they like the idea of owning a new car every few years. For some, it might also depend on whether they use the car for business purposes.

Test drive a few different vehicles. You might like the look of a car and all of its features, but the only way to know for sure if it feels right is to drive it.
I recommend you visit a local dealership or two and take a few vehicles out for a spin. After all, it’s one of the best parts about car shopping, at least in my opinion. Our dealers enjoy it too.

In fact, one of the best parts of the job is watching our customers find a vehicle they love.

Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. Email him at [email protected]

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