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We asked people to share their car buying tips

This is what they learned from past experiences.

This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

Buying a car is a huge decision. It’s an investment in transportation, safety, and, of course, in style. We asked car buyers about the mistakes they made the first time they went through the process, and had them share advice for anyone looking to purchase a vehicle. Here were the topics that came up again and again:

Do your research

First and foremost, find out as much as you can about the car you want before you set foot on the lot. That means checking sources like Kelley Blue Book to have a sense of price, and, once you zero in on a particular car, it means checking the specs. If you’re buying used: What kind of mileage are you looking for? Has the car been in any accidents? What is a fair price? It’s a lot to consider, but resources like Autotrader can help you.

Have a mechanic check the car out first

You aren’t necessarily expected to be a car professional. There are online resources to help you find out about cars, but sometimes you just need someone with hands-on experience. If you’re purchasing a used car, it doesn’t hurt to have a mechanic take a look and make sure everything looks (and sounds) as it should.

“Drive that car before you buy that car”

Nothing can replace a test drive. The only way to really know how a car handles the road and hugs each turn is to get behind the wheel, so go ahead: take it for a spin.

Plan for your payment

Monthly payments are a big commitment. When financing a car, make sure you crunch the numbers before you end up paying your rent or mortgage amount in car payments.

Ask questions!

Never, ever be afraid to ask questions. Ask a lot of them, and make them specific. Ignorance is definitely not bliss when it comes to your vehicle.

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