Unless you plan to move to New York, San Francisco, or some other big city after you graduate, you’ll probably have to buy a car at some point.
Maybe your old Civic beater will last you a couple years after you graduate. Maybe it’ll blow up tomorrow while you’re on your way to class. Either way, I’ve learned that it’s a smart idea to know what to look for – and how to get a good deal – when the time to go car shopping comes around.
My mom has been drilling this fact into my head since I was in high school – “Make sure you’re putting away some money each month in case you need to get a new car!” – and a few weeks ago, it finally happened. A friend’s car blew up, so I decided to sell him my old Chevy and look for something new.
Knowing that the person with the most information will win any negotiation, I made sure to do an epic amount of research before ever walking into a dealer. Along the way, I came across Everyday Driver – a YouTube channel and podcast hosted by two certified car geeks, Todd Deeken and Paul Schmucker.
Todd and Paul focus their YouTube efforts on “fun” cars, but their podcast was the thing that really intrigued me. On it, they take scenarios from listeners and provide car recommendations that fit them. That includes budget, lifestyle, whether or not they have kids, where they live, etc.
Listening to their podcast opened my mind to just how many choices I had when it came to car buying. It also, well… kinda turned me into a car geek as well. Seriously, I’ve been playing Dirt Rally for weeks now and I spent half of my July 4th vacation reading up on how engines work (it’s actually pretty interesting).
Going through a car geek phase taught me something, though: Driving (even on a budget) can be fun. There are cars out there that can fit your budget and not make you hate yourself every time you have to drive them.
So, after learning a ton from Todd and Paul, and then actually getting my own car, I thought it’d be great to have them on the podcast. I wanted to pick their brains and get really in-depth on the car-buying process – and I definitely got what I was after.
In fact, we ended up chatting for almost two full hours! For that reason, I’ve decided to make this a two-parter – a veritable master class on how to buy a car. So, after you’ve listened to this episode and the one coming out next week, you’ll know how to:
- Search for cars that fit your needs (and that can be fun)
- Analyze a used car for potential problems
- Test drive the right way
- Negotiate properly with a dealer
- Finance a car without getting screwed
…and probably a lot more. Enjoy!
Things mentioned in this episode:
- Everyday Driver on YouTube
- Listen to the Everyday Driver Car Debate Podcast
- Kelley Blue Book
- Consumer Reports
- Commute Times Map
- Checklist of things to look for on a used car
- How to negotiate with a dealer
One last tip: If you find yourself needing to buy a car, and you’re still feeling lost after this episode, there’s no harm in asking someone more experienced to come along with you. It could be your dad, your grandma, or even a friendly professor. People who have owned multiple cars will simply have more experience and knowledge of what to look for, so consider it!
Want more cool stuff? You can find all sorts of great tools at my Resources page.