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Car shopping can be stressful because most vehicles are expensive and frequently used. So unless you have money to burn, you’ll want to make the most of your next car because you’ll probably drive it for years. Consider these tips to get the best bang for your buck from your next vehicle, according to TrueCar.

1. Budgeting is the most crucial aspect of car buying

How to make the most of your next car, according to TrueCar
New cars parked in a tower at a Volkswagen factory in Germany | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

According to TrueCar, budgeting is probably the most important step in car buying. For most people, a vehicle is a massive expense that will consume significant resources. So when buying a new car, know precisely how much you can afford.

That doesn’t just mean thinking about the price but also adding expenses related to the vehicle. Auto insurance rates can be complicated — if you buy a specific car, you might see a hike in your premiums. Maintenance can also be an issue because some models are needier than others. Then there’s fuel economy, which can be a significant cost, especially when gas prices are high.

If you don’t take the time to budget everything out, you might spend too much money on a car you don’t need. Then you might fall behind on your payments or cause stress within your family. By budgeting strategically, you can ensure you’ll buy a vehicle that will satisfy you for the long haul.

2. Shop around and test drive

After you determine your budget, it’s time to shop. Some folks see car shopping as unique, but it’s similar to shopping for something as simple as a pair of pants. That’s why, according to TrueCar, it’s essential to take time to shop around and examine the various types of models available. Even if you know what model you want, it’s still a good idea to see what competitors offer.

So, test drive various models and then evaluate them beyond road performance. For example, most modern cars come with advanced infotainment features, so it will be worth your time to find out whether the controls are intuitive. Parents should also take the time to see how a vehicle accommodates child seats. Some dealerships let customers take a car home to test for 24 hours or even a week, so be sure to ask. By taking those steps, you’ll be closer to finding the best model for your needs and desires.

3. Choosing trims and adding options can be a good idea too

Finally, if you plan to keep your vehicle for a while, explore the model’s various trim levels and options. Just remember to factor extras and upgrades into your budget. If you can afford them, spend a little extra money to get the most out of your next car. 

Automakers offer a wide range of extra features. In general, though, dealer options and packages can improve a vehicle’s capabilities and features. Auto manufacturers also usually offer accessories that allow you to customize the car further. That way, you can be happy with your vehicle for longer.


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