The time has finally come, you’re ready to purchase your first car. Few things in life are as exciting as purchasing your first vehicle. This rite of passage is something you’ll most likely remember forever so it’s important the process is as positive as possible. You’ve probably been thinking about this moment for a while and might be tempted to drive to the nearest car dealership and purchase it without haste but there are certain things to keep in mind before you’re handed the new keys. Here are some considerations to think about so your experience lives up to all those years of dreaming!

Need vs. want

While you might want a shiny new Corvette, be realistic. Consider how you will be using your car. How much driving are you going to do? Will your commutes be short distances or long drives and road trips? Will you be driving in weather conditions that may require all or 4-wheel drive, or will front-wheel-drive suffice? How many passengers will typically be in your vehicle?

Be realistic about your budget

Owning a vehicle is more than just the purchase price and comes with a lot of responsibility. There are taxes and license fees that can range 8-10% of the cost of your car. Insurance, maintenance, gas, etc. are all ongoing expenses. Where will this money come from? Have you saved the money to cover the expenses? Is someone helping you buy the car in their name? Are you financing or leasing? All of these are options you’ll need to determine and understand before heading to the dealership.

Explore your options

The internet has made locating, comparing, and pricing vehicles a much easier process. Non-dealer sites can be the perfect way to find your next car but heed caution.  Some sellers are not as honest as we would like to believe. Purchasing from a dealer you are familiar with and trust is an option and has advantages. Ask around for recommendations and do your due diligence before even stepping into the dealership. Dealers have often inspected the car making repairs that ensure the safety of the vehicle. They may also provide you with a Carfax report. 

Consider safety options

There are likely trade-offs you will have to make between your budget and the latest technology. At a minimum does the car have a driver airbag? Do you want passenger airbags? Tire pressure sensors indicating low tire pressures, are those important to you? Front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, optional 4-wheel drive are to be considered depending on conditions you expect to drive in. Do you want front or rear bumper parking sensors or cameras? These are just a few items that add safety, but also add cost to the total purchase price and possible additional cost of repair might be required down the road.


Before considering your next vehicle do a little research in terms of maintenance information. You have an advantage at your fingertips! Once you have a shortlist of choices go to Consumer Reports or a similar site and research the year, make, model reliability history. This may prevent you from purchasing a vehicle that will eat up all your money in maintenance.

Take a test drive

The vehicle you’ve had your eye on might look great but not feel right when you get behind the wheel. Spend some time behind the wheel and make brief notes about what you liked and didn’t like for comparison. Many dealers offer you the chance to drive the car for several hours before you commit. 

Have a mechanic complete a pre-purchase inspection

Take the vehicle to your family mechanic, or ask someone you trust for referrals and have the car checked over for a clean bill of health. There may be a small charge for this service, but well worth the dollars if any major problem is found. The information found could provide you with some negotiating power if any small recommendations or issues are found that will require attention soon.

Automotive Specialties
 has been completing pre-purchase inspections for our customers for years. On several occasions, our tech’s findings have resulted in a “please don’t buy this vehicle” comment that saved the potential buyer from a lot of grief and money on the wrong automobile.

It doesn’t matter if you live in Yorkville, Oswego, Plano, Bristol, Sugar Grove or any neighboring community. When it comes time to make your big purchase call Automotive Specialties (630)553-0397 or visit us online