Car buying tips

Car buying tips

One of the major milestones of life is getting a first car, but unless they are fortunate enough to be gifted one by the family, many teens are on their own in the frightening world of the auto market. 

Fear not, Mr. Andrew Barton, Sales Professional at DriveHubler Certified Pre-Owned, brings wisdom to the weary, young car-buyer. 

“It’s hard to beat Hondas or Toyotas,” Mr. Barton said. “In my personal opinion, I’d say the Toyota Camry is the best make and model for a first car.”

For most teens a car will be the biggest purchase they have ever made, so pricing is important.

“Working at a dealership, we usually see cars in the $3,000-$5,000 range being sold to people looking for their kids’ first cars,” he said. “Sometimes vehicles at that price level will have issues or higher mileage, but it’s not impossible to find a good car at that range, but it’s just a little bit of a needle in the haystack at that point. Anywhere in the $5,000-$6,000 range you can find a pretty reliable car.”

When shopping for a car, the second place to look after the price tag is the odometer. 

“The mileage on cars like that are usually anywhere between 100 to 200,000 miles,” Mr. Barton said. “Typically, anything over that 150,000 mile mark will go to auction or wholesale because they haven’t been maintained very well. To me, I think the perfect vehicle would be something like a 2010-12 Toyota Camry with about 120,000 miles and a clean inspection on it.”

When shopping for a car online, it is important to be wary of some typical red flags.

“On our website, there is a link on every car in our inventory to their Carfax report, which will tell you a lot you need to know,” he said. “It’s important to check cars’ records and history, but remember there might not be everything reported to Carfax. That can be a problem or it could be something like an oil change that the last owner just did themselves so there is no record of it. If the car has an extensive service record, that is a good indicator it is a reliable car, but I would definitely say to see pictures, because if you see the interior is pretty ripped up that’s a red flag the car may have a lot of other issues, and always check the car out in person before buying.”

The perfect car is found, the right price is agreed upon, but do not drive off just yet. The ordeal of finding and buying a car may be over, but next comes insurance.

“Insurance rates are higher the younger you are,” Ms. Cindie Cottingham, Office Manager at the State Farm Insurance office of Brent Shewmaker, said. “There are discounts for younger people to lower rates, such as good student discounts for students with a 3.0 or higher GPA. State Farm has a program called the Steer Clear driving program which provides a discount if you don’t have any accidents or traffic violations.”

This is also where parents can be helpful.

“If you’re insured in the parents’ household where the parents have autos with us, you can get discounts for that,” Ms. Cottingham said. “Sometimes, it’s cheaper to be insured where your parents are, too.”

Insurance rates can depend on the kind of car.

“It can vary a lot,” she said. “Sometimes, SUVs and trucks are higher to insure because of their value, but at the same time, they can cost less to insure because they are safer for passengers. You look at especially two-door coupes like Mustangs and Camaros; it has always been a well known fact that those are higher to insure. A four-door sedan is certainly less to insure than a more sportier two-door car.”