Before You Purchase A Car
Make a budget before you begin to look.
Determine exactly how much money you can spend on this car.
Think about which features are necessities, and which are really luxuries.
Don't forget: the money you'll be spending on a car will continue years after the initial purchase, so factor in expenses like insurance and gasoline as you think about your budget.
Be a smart shopper.
Inspecting a car before you buy it may take extra time, but will be well worth it in the long run.
Check the interior and exterior to make sure all parts are intact and functioning, listen for strange noises, look for leaks, tests all systems (like radio and AC), and make sure to take the car for a test drive.
For a more comprehensive list of things to inspect in your new car, see the Car Smart Inspecting a Car Check List.
Be aware of the laws protecting you as a consumer
Massachusetts Lemon Law: protects consumers who have purchased or leased a new car that has serious defects by requiring that, if a defect is not able to be repaired after a reasonable number of attempts, the consumer has the right to a free refund or replacement of the vehicle.
Used Vehicle Warranty Law: protects consumers who have purchased a used vehicle by requiring a written warranty against defects that impact the vehicle's function or safety.
For additional resources to help you before purchasing or leasing a car, check out the Massachusetts Consumers' Coalition's Car Smart Guide
After You Purchase A Car
You must purchase motor vehicle insurance, which is mandatory in Massachusetts.
While you are a student, you can remain on your parents' car insurance, but only if they own, or are co-owners, of your car.
Before purchasing insurance, do some research:
There are basic levels of insurance required by law, but you may want additional coverage - talk to an insurance agent to understand your options.
Contact your insurance agent for a free copy of the state sponsored insurance brochure, "Smart Choices".
Talk to friends and family members about their experiences with various insurance companies.