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Tips for First-Time Car Buyers 

Couple buying new car talking to salesperson

Purchasing your first vehicle is an exciting rite of passage. A car purchase is a big decision, and that means taking time to ensure that you select the best vehicle for you. Here are a few tips to help you get started. 

5 Tips for First-Time Buyers 

  1. Create a budget
    Establishing a budget is a good way to start your car search. It makes sense to only research those vehicles which fit into your current financial plan. Determine your other monthly expenses and then decide if you can purchase your vehicle with cash, or if you’ll lease or finance. Consider how much you have available for a down payment as well, as that will change your monthly costs.
  2. Make a list of needs
    Now the fun begins! Think about your lifestyle and overall needs for your new vehicle. Areas to consider are seating, cargo space, safety and driver assist technologies, miles per gallon (MPG) or range and any other wants. For example, if you like to go off-roading or camping, AWD or 4WD might be important to you. If you have a long commute, the sound system and connectivity features that make your drive more convenient could be at the top of your list. 
  3. Research options
    Start your vehicle search. Heading straight to the auto center before getting an idea of what you like can be overwhelming with tons of options. Instead, begin with an online search for vehicles which have the features you want and are in your budget. Don’t forget to consider both new and pre-owned vehicles!  
  4. Narrow down to your top three choices
    You’ll likely come up with a substantial list of options. Do your best to narrow it down to your top three. There are online tools that offer side-by-side comparisons. This can help you take a deeper dive into each vehicle in relation to the others. Maybe one gets better mpg, but another has more cargo room. Check out online reviews from experts and also consider lifetime ownership costs. All of these research points can help you condense your list. 
  5. Schedule test drives
    Now it’s time to head to the dealerships! Call in advance to schedule your test drives. Making an appointment ensures that an associate will be ready for you and that the vehicle you want to test drive is available. This will streamline your process and you can schedule your test drives on the same day, or within the same couple days, so that each vehicle is fresh in your mind. During your test drive, focus and evaluate the vehicle. Test drive only your top three, as too many options can make it hard to come to a decision.  

Your First Car Purchase

Your first car purchase is an exciting event! You’ve done all the work and research to make it happen. Once you’ve established a budget, determined what you need, completed your research and test driven your top choices, there’s only one thing left to do… buy your car and take it home!   

Get your new vehicle
Contact the dealerships at Ontario Auto Center to learn about current inventory and to schedule a test drive.  


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While great effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information on this site, errors can occur. Please verify all pricing information with a customer service representative. This is easily done by calling us or visiting us at the dealership.

Customer may not qualify for ALL Rebates shown. Some rebates are stackable and others can and cannot be combined. See Dealer For Complete Details.