Your No-nonsense Guide to Buying Your New Car

Congratulations! You’re buying a new car, or you’re at least thinking about buying a new car. There are so many questions you have to answer, though:

  • Can I afford it?
  • Should I lease or buy?
  • How do I get the best price?

The list goes on and on, and that’s where we come in.  

CarBuckets has put together this quick guide that explains everything you need to know as you embark on the car buying journey. We’re committed to making the process easier and more enjoyable for you, whether you join a CarBucket or not.

Let’s get to it.

Buying Your New Car With CarBuckets: Your Questions Answered

“Can I afford a car?”

There are different rules of thumb for determining how much you should spend on a car. One popular recommendation says you should spend no more than 20% of your monthly take-home pay on a car payment. Ultimately, your personal situation and circumstances will factor into the math. Take a look at your finances and determine the highest monthly payment you’d be comfortable making. Then, work backward from there.

Once you’ve come up with a number, think about whether you want to buy used or new. If you really just want the cheapest possible car, consider buying used. But if you want something new with no history and that new car smell, then obviously go new.

If you’re heading down the new car route, consider joining a CarBucket. You’ll get access to group discounts, and you’ll be able to bypass the scary negotiating process altogether. Our technology allows dealers to give greater discounts to CarBuckets buyers than if those same dealers were selling to a single buyer.

CarBuckets offers group discounts for all the major auto manufacturers, including Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, and Toyota.

“Should I lease or buy?”

The answer to this question is entirely based on your circumstances and preferences. Leasing means a monthly payment for use of your car (like renting), while buying is a monthly payment toward eventual ownership of your car.

If you buy, you’re entirely responsible for repairs and maintenance (unless your manufacturer has an ongoing deal that includes service, but those usually run out after a few years). However, you end up owning the vehicle and any resale value down the line. Once you’ve paid off your car, you won’t have to worry about monthly payments and you’ll have no mileage restrictions. You can do as you please with your car.

If you lease, you’ll probably have fewer upkeep costs (and can trade it in sooner for a new car), but you won’t ever own your leased vehicle. You’ll drive it for the length set out in the lease, generally 3-5 years.

Unless you make a huge down payment or have a high-value trade in, leasing will almost always get you a lower monthly payment than if you were to purchase that same car.

Also, if you plan on using your leased car for ride sharing (e.g. Uber, Lyft), make sure it’s allowed in your lease and that you have enough miles baked into your lease to cover your ride-sharing gig. Dealers charge a fee per mile for any extra miles your car has at the end of the lease. On average, dealers allow 10,000-15,000 miles per year on lease contract. Make sure you pick the one most suitable for you.

Want a more thorough explanation of how leasing works? Read all about it on our finance information page.

“What if I want to trade in my current car?”

Three words: Do your research. Find out how much your current car is worth before heading to the dealership. Check out Kelley Blue Book or any other trade appraisal sites to gain a sense of what your current car is worth. It’ll give you a good benchmark for what you can expect to get for your ride.

In the end, the price of the trade-in is determined by the dealership, but prices from KBB are reliable ranges and give great estimates, allowing you to have an educated conversation with dealers.

The value of your trade-in can be applied to your new car whether you lease or buy. Whatever you get for your current car will be subtracted from the total amount that needs to be financed for the new one.

If you are purchasing your new vehicle through CarBuckets, the process is essentially the same. First, let us lock in the lowest volume price for you at a local dealership. Meanwhile, do your trade-in research. Then, when you go take your test drive, have the trade-in conversation with your salesperson.

“How do I know I’m getting the best price for my new car?”

This is the trickiest part of the car buying process. With so much noise out there, it can be hard to make sense of whether you’re getting a good deal or not. But if you keep these four things in mind, it should be much easier:

Price of a New Car

Look up average prices people have paid for that car in your area. Keep in mind car specifics — things like color and accessories can alter price, so be specific. CarBuckets prices will come in pretty low thanks to our ability to get you group discounts. No other car-buying website can do that for you.

Trade-in value

Review the tips mentioned above. It’s important to do the research so you get the best deal on your trade-in.

Auto-Loan Interest Rate

Your interest rate is dependent on your credit score. The lower your credit score, the higher your interest rate will be. An auto loan calculator can give you an idea of what your rate will be.

In addition to your credit score, your interest rate will be determined by whether you choose to get an auto loan through an outside lender or if you finance through the dealership. Your decision to lease or buy the car will also impact the final number. Sit down and talk through the options to find a payment schedule that’s right for you.

Last Minute Add-Ons

These are those little fees that dealerships tack on at the end: documentation fees, registration, delivery fee, dealer-added accessories, etc.

Transactions like these can add up, but if you buy through CarBuckets, those last-minute add-ons won’t happen. Our dealers are prohibited from tacking these on to your final bill. You’ll see all dealer fees before you take your test drive at the winning dealership.

“What do I need to bring to the dealership?”

We made a list of what you should take to the dealership when you’re ready to buy a car:

  • Proof of income
  • Driver’s license
  • Proof of automotive insurance (Very important!)
  • Down payment or payment method
  • Trade-in vehicle, if applicable
  • Confidence, knowing you’ve done your due diligence ahead of time

CarBuckets Has Your Back

It’s a lot, we know. At CarBuckets, we thought long and hard about how we can streamline this process for you so you’ll feel confident you’re getting a good deal.

With us, you’ll get the lowest volume price for your new car — that means you’re getting a steep group discount. You won’t get that if you negotiate solo. It’s simple economics: buying in bulk saves. When you buy a large amount of anything, the individual unit price tends to be lower.

You’ll also get complete price transparency before you go to the dealership for the test drive. Our participating dealers are prohibited from adding on any last-minute fees once they’ve quoted you. You get to walk into the dealership knowing exactly what you’ll pay for your new car, before taxes, tag, and title.

CarBuckets offers the kind of transparency previously unheard of in the automotive industry.

Still need more info? We’ve got you covered. Reach out to the team at CarBuckets and we’ll talk you through it. We’ve all been there — that’s why we created a platform that eliminates all the major pain points in the car buying process. We’re here to bring back the joy of car buying.

Ready to buy your car? Join a CarBucket and get the process started.