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2018 officially has the green light, and there’s no better way to roll into the new year than on a new set of wheels. Sure, buying a new car can seem daunting, but our experts at Caliber have gathered a few tips to make the road to your new ride a little smoother.

Plan it Out

Other than a house, a vehicle is likely the second most expensive purchase many of us make, and we recommend evaluating your finances at the very start. While the process seems cumbersome, it’s definitely worth taking the time to figure out what you can comfortably afford so that you can enjoy your ride without added financial burdens.

Take a look at last year’s automotive 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. By thinking through the numbers at the start, you’ll pave the way for a much easier buying experience down the road.

Find What Fits

And now comes the fun part – choosing the perfect car for you. Thankfully in this day and age there’s a vehicle to fit every lifestyle, and it takes only a little legwork to find your perfect match. From family-friendly SUVs to hard-working trucks, we recommend evaluating your needs and researching models that complement your daily agenda. How many passengers will you be carrying? Do you need all-wheel drive? How much garage/parking space do you have? A few simple questions like these puts you on track to find not only what you want, but what you need.

New vs. Used

When it comes to buying new or used, there’s no hard and fast rule as to which one is “better,” so it all comes down to preference. New cars generally come with a warranty, will have few repairs in the early years, and come with the latest and greatest vehicle technology. On the other hand, used cars are more affordable and come with consumer reports that evaluate the car’s performance over time.

While it’s easy to talk yourself into a new car with all the hottest gadgets, we’ve found a good rule of thumb is that you should steer clear of cars you couldn’t pay off completely in three years. If you find anything within that, then you’re definitely good to go.

Knowledge is Power

When you’ve picked out a few winners, try visiting informative sites like edmunds.com or kbb.com to get in-depth performance reviews. Here you can compare models, find a suggested MSRP, and get the information you need to confidently walk into a dealership and happily drive out.

One thing’s for sure – new car or not, we’re excited for the great things 2018 is sure to bring. And remember, no matter if your vehicle is brand new or tried and true, we’ll always be right there to restore the rhythm of your life and do our best to make this year your best one on the road yet.