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Buying a car for the first time can be daunting. You can feel a lot of stress if you aren’t informed before you hit the car lot. Once you’ve established a realistic budget and your specific transportation needs, you’ll be prepared to find a local dealer to go on some test drives.

Don’t let them sense your fear.

You’ve probably heard horror stories about sleazy car salespeople who capitalize on buyers’ ignorance. Use your intuition: If something feels off, it probably is. Some sources suggest avoiding showrooms where most of the salesmen are seated near the front door, because they are likely to overwhelm you and lure you in with loaded questions.

Be prepared to ask them the questions instead. If you come armed with a checklist of questions and concerns, you will give the appearance of someone who has some knowledge about what you want. Don’t get a good feeling from the first showroom you visit? Shop around and visit a few before you make a decision. This car dealership in Harrisburg, PA, or your local equivalent, is a good place to start.

Consider how you’re going to finance your purchase.

If you’re in the position financially to pay for your vehicle in cash, do it. In the more likely circumstance that you need to finance your purchase in another way, you’ll need to ensure your credit score is good, so that a bank or other financial institution will consider you worthy of getting a loan. If your credit history leaves any doubts that you will be able to pay back your loan, they will turn you away.

A cash down payment is sometimes helpful as well, but be sure you’re aware of the conditions. In some circumstances, you will need a co-signer.

Learn about collision and liability insurance rates.  

Liability insurance, mandatory in most states, offers bare-bones coverage in case you get into an accident, cause harm to another person, or damage their property. This type of insurance is sub-categorized into Bodily Injury Liability and Property Damage Liability.

Collision insurance, which protects you regardless of who was at fault in an accident, is also vitally important, say the pros at Conrad & Conrad who offer motor vehicle accident negligence services. The only exception is in the case of animal-related collisions, which are typically not covered. If you live in a rural area, consider a comprehensive plan that combines both collision and liability insurance. In any case, collision insurance covers the costs of towing, storage, and even repairs.

Find a reliable repair shop.

Even though your dad taught you how to change a tire, you’ll likely face a time when you will need a professional mechanic.

Most auto body repair shops provide emergency services such as accident repair, as well as aesthetic services, such as painting, detailing, and restyling. They are staffed by highly trained auto mechanics and technicians. This auto body repair shop in Ann Arbor, MI, is a good example of what you might find in your own community.

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