Looking for a new or used car and wondering where to start? This guide will go over the basics and get you started on your car shopping adventure.

Which vehicle is right for me?

SUV or pickup truck? Sedan or coupe? Whether you’re looking for something with the best gas mileage or you need to get four kids to soccer practice, the first step in buying a new car is figuring out which vehicle is right for you.

With so many options available, let us help you find the vehicle is right for you. Take our Personalized Experience assessment today!


Will more than two people ride in the car at least twice per week?

Would you ever use this vehicle to move, do projects or haul things?

Do you drive more than 40 miles per day?

Are you in unpaved or snow-covered areas more than once per month?

Do you plan on your life situation changing in the next three years?

Pay cash

If you have the cash on hand you can buy the vehicle outright. No lending institution is involved.


If you have some money for a down payment and are interested in owning the vehicle you can take out a loan to cover the cost.


Leasing is a way to get a new vehicle without paying large amounts of cash or taking out a loan.

How does financing work?

When you finance a vehicle, you take out a loan to buy the car and pay it down every month. After the loan is paid the vehicle is yours. Financing a vehicle usually requires a larger down payment than leasing, usually at least 20% of the vehicle price.

You might want to finance a vehicle if you don’t want the mileage restrictions of a lease, want to own the vehicle outright and have money saved for a larger down payment.


  • Full ownership of the vehicle
  • No mileage limits, excess depreciation, mileage fees
  • Build equity in the vehicle


  • Locked into your choice of vehicle for longer
  • Higher monthly payment
  • Limited warranty coverage

A little on leasing

Leasing a car lets you drive a new vehicle without paying a large down payment or taking out a loan. You’ll most likely pay a small down payment (less than the usual 20% when buying) and have monthly payments for the term of the lease. When the term expires, you return the car, and sometimes you have the option of buying it for its residual value. Leasing can be a good option if you don’t have a large down payment and want a new vehicle, or you want the ability to easily upgrade in a few years.


  • Lower down payment
  • No loans
  • Factory warranty coverage
  • Ability to upgrade to a new car sooner
  • Exchanging vehicles more often gives you a varied driving experience


  • Mileage and term limits
  • Express depreciation and mileage fees
  • Limited customization
  • No equity in the vehicle
  • No ownership of the vehicle
Get our guide on buying vs leasing

What if I have bad credit?

Don’t get discouraged! With so many factors going into financing a new vehicle you can still get an auto loan even with bad credit. Before you visit the dealership determine your financial situation and budget. Get a copy of your credit report so you know what to expect in terms of financing. Find a vehicle that fits in your budget and go to a reputable dealer.


Make a wise vehicle selection. Aim for the newest, lowest mileage vehicle within your means.

Put money down to decrease the size of the loan.

Having a strong cosigner can help you qualify for the loan.

Keep the loan with good payment history for at least 12 months.

Don't shop your credit.

Apply for credit at GoodAutoLoan.com

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