A Guide for first time car buyers

What to look for when car shopping

Hannah Heger, Features Editor

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Hello everyone, my name is Hannah Heger and my car caught on fire.

My first car, a 1999 Toyota Camry, was tragically lost a few weeks ago when it caught on fire after rats chewed through wires and built a nest.

While this happened during my lunch period, thankfully it wasn’t at school, and the fire department came to our rescue and put out the fire.

Without my car I have started a whole new search for a car to use for this year. But finding a car can happen in many ways. My mom found out about my previous car through “Words with Friends” and ironically enough the man we bought it from was going to sell it at an auction in Louisiana, but we managed to talk him out of it which eventually led him to sell the car to us.

With the countless ways to find and buy cars, which is the best way, and how do you know what to look for when you need a car? With those questions asked, I started the journey to buying a new car.

While buying directly from an individual is an option, there are dealerships specifically for used cars, as well as dealerships that handle new and used cars.

After a couple of weekends of driving around looking at used car lots, I went to an official car dealership, Briggs Auto, and I met with John Windham, a sales representative who is triple certified Buick, GMC and Nissan. One of the things that makes Briggs unique from other dealerships is that they have an onsite certified body shop.

“We have two master technicians doing every single inspection for safety, every single inspection for service,” Windham said. “We do more to control the cost of what we put on to do to our cars and the quality of the work that’s done to them.”  

Photo by Javi Mercado
Heger, a Manhattan High junior, interviews Briggs sales representative John Windham. The interview covered the car buying process and finances.

But the process of buying cars has been developed over the past 35 years at Briggs by the owner.

“Typically, it starts with the road to the sale. if you haven’t heard of that, it’s your meeting and greeting, get to know somebody, then you do your fact-finding, followed by a presentation,” Windham said. “At that point, you start getting more serious about the financial side of things.”

After looking at credit history and other factors, they develop a payment plan Briggs provides possible financial institutions that have the best possible rates for the buyer.

But knowing all of that I still wonder if buying a brand new car is better than finding a used one.

“The biggest difference between the two is peace of mind,” Windham said. “Of course, on a new car, you do have for warranty, so when you’re talking about a used car, you’re going to only get a portion of that guarantee. You don’t know how the vehicle was driven forehand or how the previous owner took care of it. Of course, you have your Carfax reports, and then your service records, if it was maintained by the company’s bottom from that you can see. But other than that, the way that they drove it and their tendencies in that vehicle are going to affect its lifespan overall.”

A piece of advice Windham gave me is to know what you’re looking for in a car.

“The best thing that you can have walking in as a plan in place already,” Windham said. “That gives me the advantage of knowing where I’m going things right off the bat.”

Knowing what kind of car you like, knowing your price range and credit can help a lot.

“The best thing that you can have walking in is a plan in place already,” Windham said. “That gives me the advantage of knowing where I’m going with things right off the bat.”

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