Are you in the market for a new truck? If you’re about to head to the dealership, make sure you check out this guide for buying a new truck first.
It’s easy to get excited when it comes time to find a new ride. However, before you get swept up in window shopping, take a minute to collect your thoughts.
Have you thought about the best type of pickup for your lifestyle? What about your finances – what can you afford? Do you want a new or used truck?
We’re not trying to slow you down, we simply want to make sure you’re making the best decision for your present and future. Keep reading for our top tips on buying a new truck the right way.
- Figure Out Your Finances
Before you can start shopping for a new truck, you need to figure out how and what you can afford. Unfortunately, most Americans struggle to make ends meet each month, with 78% of American workers living paycheck to paycheck. You can avoid falling into this category by digging deep into your spending habits to better understand your financial picture.
Analyze your bank and credit card statements from the past three months to determine your average cash flow. Then, identify areas where you can cut back and save money to justify buying a new truck. Optimizing your cash flow can even help you afford a truck of higher quality.
Finally, consider all the costs of buying a truck. You’ll have the monthly loan payments, of course, but that’s not all. You’ll also need to think about monthly insurance costs as well as yearly registration fees.
- Get Pre-Approved for a Loan
Now you’re one step closer to buying a new truck. But before you start shopping around or getting emotionally attached to certain years, models, or trims, you need to find out what you can get approved for.
Just because you determine you can afford a certain payment each month, it doesn’t mean your bank or other lenders will agree. They will only be able to lend you an amount dictated by your credit score. The lower your credit score is, the less money you’ll be able to get approved for, and the higher your interest will be.
Once you get pre-approved, you can start shopping for trucks that fall into your budget. However, you can get approved for a larger loan by:
- Spending three to six months boosting your credit score
- Finding a co-signer
- Contributing a decent downpayment
Just remember not to bite off more than you can chew, which can lead to financial strain in the future.
- Decide – New, Used, or Certified Pre-Owned
When you’re deciding how to buy a truck, you also need to decide if you want to buy brand new, used, or certified pre-owned. Each comes with its own unique set of pros and cons.
A brand new truck comes with top-of-the-line technology, comfort, and safety features. They also come with extensive manufacturer warranties that protect you in the event of any major component failures. Some also come with convenient perks such as roadside assistance, satellite radio, and more.
However, brand new vehicles also cost more than older models. This includes pricetags, taxes, registration fees, and insurance costs. They also rapidly depreciate in value for the first few years.
Buying a truck used comes with many benefits. You have quite a few more options within your budget. You can even find higher-class, fully loaded trucks that are a few years older, but much cheaper than their brand new counterparts.
However, most used vehicles don’t come with protection other than what may or may not be left on their manufacturer warranty. You also don’t 100 percent know the vehicle’s history, how well it was maintained, etc.
Certified pre-owned vehicles provide a happy medium between new and used pickups. CPOs are certified by dealerships or manufacturers after tedious mechanical, electrical, and aesthetic inspections. They come with new warranties and several other perks.
Naturally, they do have a higher price tag than a traditional used truck.
- Think About Performance and Capabilities
Another important aspect of buying a new truck is determining what you’ll be using the vehicle for. Will you be using your pickup as a work truck or will it serve mostly to drive you to and from work in the city?
Additionally, you need to think about the truck’s towing and hauling capacities if you’re planning on towing a boat or camper. This also means considering off-roading capabilities for outdoor hobbies such as hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, and more.
For reference, here’s a breakdown of the Dodge RAM pickup truck 2500 and 1500 models.
- Consider Fuel-Efficiency
If you plan on doing a lot of traveling in your new truck, you should take a moment to research the best trucks for fuel-efficiency. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about daily driving habits or taking long business or personal trips.
Many trucks come with automatic cylinder deactivation. This feature allows your truck to operate using less fuel for day-to-day driving requirements. This can significantly reduce fuel costs without taking away from the truck’s performance potential when it counts.
- Keep Comfort, Convenience, and Luxury in Mind
When buying a new truck, it’s also important to figure out how much luxury you want. Base models often come with the bare essentials. Enough for a comfortable ride, but none of the bells and whistles that provide a more exciting and luxurious driving experience.
For example, higher truck trims come with extra features such as heated/cooling leather seats, better sound systems, navigation systems, satellite radio, advanced driver assistance features, smart technology integration, and more.
- Shop Around for the Best Financing
Finally, when you’ve found the right truck, remember that you don’t have to use the bank or lender with whom you were pre-approved. You can shop around to find better rates and more appealing contracts.
Surprisingly, you can find competitive rates through in-house financing with certain dealerships. Finally, make sure you know other important details of the loan, such as:
- Are there any penalties for paying the loan off early?
- Can you refinance the loan later to get a better interest rate?
- Are you required to put any money down?
- What is the length of the loan?
- How much will you be paying in interest over the life of the loan?
Take your time to find the right financing, as a 1-2% difference in your interest rate can equate to thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.
Are You Thinking About Buying a New Truck?
If you’re considering buying a new truck, make sure you follow the advice listed above. Buying a truck can be an amazing experience, as long as you know what you’re doing and don’t make any rash decisions. And if you’re looking for any more automotive related news and advice, be sure to check out some of our other articles before you go.