Buying your first car, especially if it's a Toyota can be a particularly exciting time. Having a car that belongs to you can give you an incredible sense of freedom and accomplishment. At the same time, however, it can feel daunting to go through the car-buying process for the first time.

At Courvelle Toyota, we want to make this process as easy and enjoyable as possible. Come visit us when you are ready to buy your first Toyota. In the meantime, here are a few tips to get you started.

First-time car buyer tips

Whether you have recently graduated and landed your first real job or are further along in life, buying your first car can feel intimidating. Use these tips to make the process easier.

  1. Create a realistic budget

Before you can buy a car, you must have a thorough understanding of how much money you have. Go back through your bank account for the past few months and itemize each expense. You might realize you have a shockingly bad coffee habit, or you need to cut back on your clothing expenses. Once you know where all your money goes and where you can cut back, if needed, you will know how much you can spend on a monthly car payment, fuel, insurance, and potential maintenance costs.

  1. Stick to your transportation needs

It can be tempting to buy the biggest, fanciest car at the top of your budget. However, if you don't need three rows of seats or premium leather upholstery, it might be worth it to save money and buy something more modest that fits your current lifestyle. There is nothing wrong with a respectable Toyota Camry or RAV4. However, if you realize that a premium sound system or other upgrade will keep you much more satisfied in the long run, than it might be worth it to spend more.

  1. Take a test drive

When you have narrowed down your car selection, make sure you take a thorough test drive. In addition to its handling, pay attention to features like placement of controls, the seating position, and how well the tech interface responds. These are features you will use every day. You don't want to end up with a car that frustrates you.

What to bring with you when buying a car

When buying a car, you need to bring some important information with you. Before you head to the dealership, gather these items:

  • Driver's license: You must have a driver's license to test drive and purchase a car. The dealership will make a photocopy of your license for its records.
  • Proof of insurance: Before you buy a car, it is a good idea to contact your insurance agency to let them know you will be adding a new vehicle. In most states, including Louisiana, you are required to show proof of insurance when you buy a car.
  • Down payment: While a down payment is not always necessary to buy a car, it is a significant benefit. Most experts recommend a down payment of 20% of the purchase price when buying a new car or 10% when buying used. Have you preferred payment method ready, whether that is cash, check, or credit card. If paying by card, you may want to contact your bank in advance to let them know you will be making a large payment.
  • Proof of income: If you are taking out a loan, you may need to show proof of income. Your recent pay stubs satisfy this requirement.

We also recommend you bring along someone you trust. Having a friend or family member with you can help keep you calm and help you make better car-buying decisions. And if you have any more questions, head on over to Courvelle Toyota in Opelousas, Louisiana! Our sales and finance teams can help walk you through any of the car buying process.

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  • Thursday 7:30 am - 6:00pm
  • Friday 7:30 am - 6:00pm
  • Saturday 7:30 am - 3:00pm
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