Navigating your way through the car purchasing process can be a nightmare. There are so many factors to take into account and so many car models out there for your consideration. Just thinking about it can leave your head spinning without providing any idea of where you should begin looking and what car you will need to fulfill your needs. Follow our advice on what you need to know before investing a large portion of your salary into a vehicle, so that you can make the best possible choice.The very first step is to consider your needs before you even start to think about your wants. Ask yourself how many people you will be transporting, how far you will be traveling on a daily basis and also what sort of terrain you’ll be traveling on. If you often go camping it’s not a good idea to buy a car with a low chassis, although these models can look sleek. If you have to parallel park in town a lot don’t go for a bulky car that is difficult to maneuver in reverse. If you do a lot of long distance driving, certain safety features, such as airbags, may be important for you. You may want a car with a small engine that doesn’t chew petrol. You should also consider any extra features that are necessary; for example air-conditioning if you live in a hot region or a tow bar that you many need for work or large family holidays. If you car is likely to be heavily loaded, you will need a more powerful engine, so think these things through first.Next, before you even start thinking about browsing through the pages of glossy magazines depicting shiny cars with supermodels on the bonnets, you have to think about the price to prevent yourself from drooling over something you can’t afford. A general rule of thumb is that your monthly car payments should not be more than a fifth of the salary you take home, and that excludes your down payment. Remember, the payments are not just your installments per month, but also your insurance and upkeep of the vehicle. Also, consider what the resale value will be in the eventuality that you will need to sell it. Once you are sure about what you need the fun part begins and you can start thinking about what model, color and extras you want. Remember that consulting friends and salesmen does help, but they all have their own preferences and agendas, so, ultimately, the decision must rest with you and you must choose a model that you feel you can trust. The web is a great place to find a wealth of car information and reviews. Once you have selected a car, it’s imperative to test drive it first and make sure all the paper work is above board. If you aren’t an expert on car mechanics, try to take along a friend who is. Keep in mind that small problems can be advantageous for second hand cars as it gives you room to negotiate a lower priceNow that the baby belongs to you, you mustn’t neglect her. If you find that you have bad driving habits, such as riding the break or clutch or changing gears roughly, try to unlearn these as they will age your car more quickly, and don’t forget the annual service. You’ve taken care of the boring administration, now it’s time to take her for a cruise.