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We’ve officially hit the ignition on the new year, and there’s no better way to roll out the new you than with a fresh ride. As we all know, buying a car can be overwhelming and expensive—especially when you don’t have the right information. Fortunately, our experts at Caliber have gathered a few tips to make buying a car in 2019 a breeze.

Begin with a Budget
A vehicle is among the most expensive purchases many of us will make, and it definitely pays to take a look at your books before heading to the dealership. It is critical to know two things: how much you can afford every month and how much you can pay up front. Without that information, you might end up with more automobile than you can afford. Take a look at last year’s vehicle expenses: maintenance fees, your average yearly mileage, estimated fuel costs and the trade-in value of your current car; then create a ballpark budget for your new vehicle. With just a little foresight, you’ll save a truckload of hassle.

Search and Research
While there may seem to be an endless list of makes and models nowadays, the benefit is that there’s a vehicle for every walk (and drive) of life. With the help a few of our favorite car-research websites, a quick search is all it takes to find what fits your needs. After narrowing down the list, don’t forget the most important part: a test drive. You can learn more from 10 minutes behind the wheel than from hours of research. Plus, not every vehicle coming from the factory is perfect, and a test drive along with a thorough inspection can help you identify problems at the dealership before they become problems in your garage.

New vs. Used
Now comes the age-old question of whether or not to buy new or used. Honestly, there’s no hard and fast rule as to which one is “better,” so it all comes down to preference. Used cars are more affordable and come with consumer reports that evaluate the car’s performance over time. On the other hand, new cars generally come with a warranty, will have few repairs in the early years, and come with the latest and greatest vehicle technology. In the end, everyone will need to decide for themselves what the best option is. To help with evaluating what you can afford, a good rule of thumb is that you should steer clear of cars you couldn’t pay off completely in three years.

It’s all Business
Finally, buying a car can be an emotional experience, meaning too much excitement can get in the way of getting a great deal. Remember to be friendly but firm when walking into the dealership. Knowledge, friendliness, patience, and your ability to walk away are your best tools in the car-buying process, and the difference they make will definitely pay off in the long run. If you’ve done the research and testing, you’re sure to drive off the lot confidently and prepared for anything down the road in 2019.

No matter if you’re cruising in a new car or a classic, you have everything—and everyone—you need to make 2019 your best year yet on the road yet. When it comes to restoring the rhythm of your life, our experts don’t need to make a resolution—it just comes naturally. No matter what awaits you or your ride down the road in the new year, we’ll always be here for you.

From your friends at Caliber, here’s to an amazing 2019!