A graduate’s guide to buying a car Advertiser Disclosure Advertiser Disclosure We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our aim is to assist you make better financial decisions by offering you interactive tools and financial calculators that provide objective and original content. This allows you to conduct your own research and compare information at no cost and help you make informed financial decisions. Bankrate has partnerships with issuers, including but not restricted to, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover. How We Make money The products that appear on this website come from companies that compensate us. This compensation could affect how and when products are featured on the site, such as the sequence in which they be listed within the categories of listing in the event that they are not permitted by law. This applies to our loans, mortgages,, and other products for home loans. But this compensation does not influence the content we publish or the reviews that you read on this site. We do not cover the entire universe of businesses or financial offerings that might be available to you. Kali9/Getty Images

4 min read . Published 16 September 2022

Written by Allison Martin Written by Allison Martin’s career began more than 10 years prior to that as a digital content strategist, and she’s since been featured in a variety of top financial media outlets, such as The Wall Street Journal, MSN Money, MoneyTalksNews , Investopedia, Experian and Credit.com. Edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate since the end of 2021. They are dedicated to helping their readers gain the confidence to manage their finances through providing precise, well-researched, and well-sourced information that breaks down complex topics into manageable bites. The Bankrate promises

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We receive compensation for the promotion of sponsored goods and services or when you click on certain hyperlinks on our site. So, this compensation can affect the way, location and when products are displayed within the listing categories, with the exception of those it is prohibited by law regarding our mortgages, home equity and other home lending products. Other factors, like our own proprietary website rules and whether or not a product is available in your area or at your own personal credit score may also influence how and when products appear on this site. We strive to provide the most diverse selection of products, Bankrate does not include the details of each financial or credit item or service. You’re walking through the halls soon to be awarded your diploma and now you’re ready to go out into the world. A car purchase could be a part of your plan if you’re planning to reside in an area where public transportation isn’t the best way to get around. But before you head to the dealer to pick out the perfect vehicle, conduct your own research and obtain preapproved and so that you can shop with confidence. Pick the right car for you post-graduation. The prospect of owning the car of your dreams is thrilling. But, it is important to avoid being distracted, or you may choose a car that fits your style yet isn’t practical. The commute How long will your commute to and from work? If your commute is long you might want to narrow your search to vehicles with good performance in terms of fuel efficiency and especially considering how prices for gas are changing. At present, it’s around $3.70 to the gallon in regular fuel, according to AAA, which is just a bit lower than the previous months average $3.96. However, this is significantly higher than the average price per gallon , which was $3.18 only one year earlier. Visit the and use its online tool to check the average annual fuel costs for any vehicle you’re contemplating. You can narrow your search by year, year-old, and model, or view suggestions for the most efficient automobiles. Dimensions and other features Can a small car be sufficient or do you require something larger, such as an SUV or a pickup truck? What about the features — are certain ones “must-have” in your list? If you have recently been offered an opportunity with a decent starting salary after graduation, you may have modern technology and features. But, you may be better off with an affordable car the features until you start working and establish your career. Safety features How secure is the vehicle you’re considering? Request an official copy of the vehicle’s . It contains maintenance records and provides information on whether the car has been involved in any collisions. The is another good resource. You can look up safety ratings and check on recalls using the vehicle’s model and model or VIN. Decide between new and used There’s a lot to enjoy about a new car. It’s shiny, in top form and smells delicious. However, some are as reliable. You can also buy an extended warranty for about $1500. You’ll also have peace of mind knowing you’re covered in the case the worst happens and you experience a mechanical breakdown. Consider the following when deciding between a new and used ride: New cars are covered by a manufacturer’s guarantee. This coverage can save you a significant amount of money if your car has a breakdown and requires major repairs during the initial several years that you own it. New cars typically have the latest technology. However, you may get a used car that has the features you desire. Certain used cars may come with low mileage. Therefore, if you don’t experience numerous mechanical issues over time. Maintenance costs are likely to be less and you’ll be able to get a better price. Certain used vehicles are . These are given the manufacturer’s seal of approval after having been brought up to a set standard mechanically and have an limited warranty from the factory. Take a look at the entire cost of ownership of a vehicle. Besides the monthly payment, fuel costs and insurance premiums for automobiles, you should also factor in maintenance and repair costs. In 2021 the average expense for maintenance, repairs and tires was around 9.55 cents per mile according to . The costs can vary depending on the type of vehicle however, you can use the calculator to determine how much you could pay over the course of. The annual registration renewal costs, which generally can range from as little as $20 to around $200, is also a factor to be aware of. Certain states charge a flat fee and others rely on your vehicle’s age, the efficiency of its fuel or weight to determine the registration fee. Explore cars and apply for financing prior to visiting a dealer. The majority of dealerships offer financing in-house however it is better to do this prior to shopping for an automobile. It is important to have a concrete idea of the amount you’re able to afford and the quotes you get from your credit union or bank will help you decide on the best price for your purchase. Additionally, you’ll have more leverage when . The sale won’t be contingent upon the ability of you to obtain financing through the dealership, and you’ll be able to behave as an actual cash buyer. Learn the advantages of buying vs. leasing There’s a lot of discussion about which option is better. Here are some benefits of both options: Lease payments on newer automobiles are usually cheaper. If you’re keen on a particular vehicle which is expensive it is possible to pay for the monthly installments when you lease. You’ll receive a manufacturer’s guarantee in the event that you purchase a brand new car. It usually covers you for up to 36,000 miles, or three years, which means you won’t need to worry about spending thousands of dollars on repairs when there is a mechanical problem that arises. There are no mileage restrictions if you buy a car. If you opt to lease, you’ll be restricted to between 10,000 to 15,000 miles per year , or you could end up paying exorbitant mileage fees. They can cost you between 10 cents and 25 % of a mile, or more, subject to the specifics that the contract for lease. You’ll own the car once the loan is paid in full. Lease agreements operate differently, but. You’ll need to return the vehicle to the dealer after the lease expires unless you decide to . The next step is to buy a car in college is one of the most significant purchases you’ll make. To make sure you get the best deal it is important to conduct your research to find an automobile that is compatible with your lifestyle and your budget. It is equally crucial to be preapproved to finance your purchase prior to visiting any dealership and consider the advantages of purchasing and leasing to determine which one is better. Find out more


Allison Martin’s work started over 10 years ago as an online content strategist and she’s since been published in a variety of top financial publications which include The Wall Street Journal, MSN Money, MoneyTalksNews , Investopedia, Experian and Credit.com. Written by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate from late 2021. They are dedicated to helping readers gain confidence to control their finances with concise, well-studied and well-informed information that breaks down complex subjects into bite-sized pieces.

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