Most people only think of the sticker price when shopping for a new car. But wise shoppers know that there’s much more to evaluate.

If you don’t give thought to certain monetary factors, you could be setting yourself up for financial hardship. So, before you go for that test drive, take a look at six financial considerations you should make before buying a new car.

1. Credit

Unless you intend to pay cash for a vehicle, you should know your credit score. So begin by requesting your free annual credit report from the major credit bureaus.

Knowing your credit status will allow you to make an informed decision about how to purchase your car. For example, your credit will determine in many cases the minimum down payment you need to make. It will also influence the length of the loan agreement and the monthly payments.

Experts consider an excellent credit score to be 800 or above. A very good score is generally in the mid to upper 700s. A good score is from the upper 600s to the lower 700s.

2. Down Payment

The general recommendation is to make an initial payment equal to 20% of the cost of the vehicle. That’s $8,000 on a $40,000 car.

If you can pay more, it’s generally a good idea to do so. The larger your down payment the more favorable your monthly payments will be.

However, saving 20% is a challenge for many people. That’s why your neighborhood car dealership may offer deals with much smaller down payments.

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3. Monthly Payments

Always secure a monthly payment that is less than what you can afford to pay. Why?

You never know what financial challenges you will have each month. Unexpected health issues, a family emergency, or a major appliance breakdown could all empty your wallet.

A more expensive vehicle may be tempting if it will cost you only two or three dollars more per day. But reject the urge to upgrade, and stay with a monthly payment you’re sure you can meet.

4. Repairs

It’s difficult to believe that the shiny new automobile you purchased may one day leave you on the side of the road. And you don’t know how soon that day will come. That’s why one of your financial considerations should be the cost of repairing the vehicle.

In general, the more exotic the vehicle, the more expensive its parts and labor. On the other hand, cars that have parts that are always in stock at the dealership or the local auto parts store are typically cheaper to repair.

You should research any car you’re thinking about buying to find out how satisfied previous owners have been with a car’s reliability. There’s a reason you see so many expensive foreign luxury models permanently parked in driveways. The owners discovered too late the cost of getting it fixed.

5. Insurance

First-time car buyers often forget to factor in insurance when they’re thinking of the cost of a new car. But since insurance is mandatory, it should always be part of the discussion. Fortunately, insurance companies make it easy to compare prices. Go online to find the best deal.

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Remember to request a quote for the specific type of insurance mandated by your state. Also, keep in mind that your finance company will probably require you to keep full coverage on the vehicle.

6. Financing

Banks, credit unions, and car dealership financing are some of the sources you might use to purchase a new car. You should always compare rates before deciding.

But don’t submit applications to too many finance companies. If a large number of companies run credit checks on you in a short period of time, it can negatively affect your credit score.

If you can’t find a good deal, your credit may be too low. You may have no choice but to make a larger down payment than planned. However, sometimes dealerships will have programs in place to help those with less than stellar credit afford a new car.