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These are the questions you should ask before buying a new or used car.

Tips to Help You Decide on a New or Used Car | CarMax

Buying a new or used car or truck is no small matter. The decision to make a purchase of this size shouldn’t be taken lightly. You’ll be sticking with your choice for at least a few years — so it’s important that you have all the information you can gather before you choose!

Here are answers to some of your most-asked questions about buying new vs. used cars.

How much can I afford?

Many financial institutions tell you to budget no more than 15 percent of your gross monthly income on your car payment. This goes for both new or used cars. Learning how to budget for your next vehicle will help you secure a new or used car or truck at a price you can afford.

Should I make a down payment?

Making a down payment at CarMax is not required, but it’s a smart move. Any amount you put down as a down payment will lower your monthly payment on a used car or truck you’ve chosen. A larger down payment means a lower monthly payment!

Can I sell my car to CarMax?

Absolutely, you can. Have questions about what your car is worth or how to increase the amount you’ll get for your vehicle? Here are six top appraisal questions we hear from customers, including what you’ll need to bring with you to an appraisal appointment.

What kind of car do I need?

If you’re thinking about adding a car, truck, or SUV to your household, gather information about makes and models you like, and read these car buying tips. If you’re rolling solo, you could look into sports cars or sedans; if you’re starting a family, a smaller SUV might make more sense. If your family is growing and you’re looking for a larger vehicle, consider cars and SUVs with third-row seats. If you’re budget-minded, take a look at some of the best used cars under $15,000. And check out these additional resources to refine your choices:

If you’re more focused on comfort and entertainment features, take a look at the latest features and cool 2017 trends you’ll find on newer cars and trucks.

Should I buy a new or used car?

This is a question that depends on your wants and needs. As you do your research, be aware of the ‘drive off the lot’ depreciation factor that comes with a new-car purchase. Regardless, purchasing a new car may be where you’ve set your sights. If you’re open to used cars, trucks, and SUVs, you have the option of driving a more luxurious, fully-optioned vehicle for the cost of a new car that has a comparatively lower trim level.

How much will my car depreciate?

Unless you’re in a position to score yourself a vintage Ferrari, your car, truck, or SUV is a depreciating asset — it’s likely going to lose its market value over time. There are some ways to minimize depreciation — one good way is to spend the time to maintain it, and keep it in top running condition. Don’t let small problems turn into big (read: more expensive) problems! Mileage is another big factor; if you plan to sell your car, keep an eye on the number of miles you put on it. Taking a long trip? Look into flight costs or train tickets and weigh them against your vehicle’s fuel and parking costs, plus tolls, before you hit the road.

How much does it cost to own a car?

Affordability is different for everyone. Check out our car payment calculator for an idea of what it costs to park a CarMax used car in your driveway. This estimate will include the average cost for title, tax, and tags in the state where you live.

Once you’ve addressed your purchasing costs, you can research what you might spend, on average, on annual repairs using a site like RepairPal. For a good idea of these upkeep costs, plug your vehicle into the RepairPal cost index estimator, which gives you a cost index for average repair and maintenance expenses.

Can I get financing?

Financing, or borrowing money to make a purchase, works differently depending on where you go to buy your car. At traditional dealerships, you negotiate the finance terms; there’s very little transparency here, and this can leave you with the feeling you’ve been taken advantage of.

When it comes to financing at CarMax, you’re in the driver’s seat — just like you are with every other touchpoint of your experience with us. Our financing is quick, transparent. When you’re ready to buy a used vehicle, you can check out our car financing process. We work with a number of nationally-recognized financing sources that can provide a variety of financing options. And, financing with CarMax also means you can replace ours with an offer from another financing source within three days of making your purchase, at no cost.

We hope these answers help you as you prepare to buy a new or used car. Happy hunting!