Have you finally decided to say goodbye to your old ride, which has served you well in the past decade? Or perhaps you’re in the market as a first-time car buyer.
In either case, your next step is likely to go online to check the average transaction price of new cars. Well, we’re here to tell you that, in December 2023, it reached $48,759.
If that’s too high for you, don’t worry; you can get a new Nissan car for much less.
Nissan is well-known for its affordable and reliable vehicles within the $20,000 to $30,000 range. Indeed, the cheapest new car in the U.S. in 2023 was from this Japanese carmaker, with an MSRP of $15,730!
If that piqued your interest, this guide is for you. We’ve shared tips for buying a Nissan to help you get the most bang for your buck, so read on.
Create a List of Essentials and Nice-to-Haves
Before buying a Nissan, consider your current and future driving activities, distances, and passengers.
Will you use it mostly on your own to drive to and from your home and workplace in Seaside, CA? If so, a Nissan sedan like the Altima or Maxima could be a good option. They’re both mid-size five-seater sedans, giving you (and other passengers) plenty of room.
Or do you plan to take it on long family trips and camping adventures around California, perhaps even Texas? In this case, consider getting a new Nissan Frontier, which is ideal for off-roading.
If your primary goal is to drive a cleaner, greener vehicle, the 2023 Nissan Ariya may be a perfect fit for you. It’s Nissan’s most advanced all-electric vehicle, helping you save tons on fuel (since it doesn’t need gas). You can also rely on its safety; it earned a TOP SAFETY PICK+ award from the IIHS.
In any case, write a list of features your new Nissan must have. These may include adequate interior space and cargo, good fuel economy, and high safety ratings.
Next, list your wants or nice-to-haves. These may include a sportier engine, comfort features like heated seats, or tech add-ons like a better infotainment system.
Determine How Much You Can Afford
Review your finances, including monthly cash inflows after tax, outflows, and savings. Inflows refer to all your income sources, such as your salary or business profits. Outflows are your expenses, including rent or mortgage, food, bills, healthcare, and debt repayment.
Next, subtract all your expenses and the amount you save monthly from your income sources. The difference is your discretionary income, a portion of which you can then use for your auto payments.
Just to give you an idea, the average monthly payment for new cars is $726. That doesn’t seem bad, but remember, most auto loans are long-term. For instance, in 2023, the average car loan had a 68-month term.
So, as you review your finances, consider if it can accommodate the new car loan you’ll have to pay for years to come.
Know Your Credit Score
If you’re financing your new Nissan, your credit score will significantly affect your loan interest rate. As with most loans, the higher your credit score, the more likely you’ll get a low interest rate.
For instance, this Experian chart shows that someone with a score of 720 to 850 can get a loan with an annual percentage rate (APR) of as low as 7.062%. That goes up to a whopping 17.136% for a borrower with a score of 500 to 589. As a result, those with the highest scores will pay thousands less in interest than those with the lowest scores.
That’s why it’s vital to know where your score stands before applying for a car loan. To do this, ask your credit card issuers if they can give you your score for free. You can also use a free credit score site or check with the major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion).
If your credit score is high, then great! You can proceed with your auto loan application. But if not, you can try boosting it first by paying off some of your existing debt.
Look for Dealerships Offering Free Maintenance
Nissan doesn’t offer a free nationwide maintenance plan.
Fortunately, some dealerships offer a complimentary Nissan maintenance program as part of their incentives. However, the duration still varies; some are free for the first year, while others are for two years.
So, take the time to ask several Nissan dealerships near you if they offer such incentives. With a free maintenance plan, you can save on oil and filter changes and tire rotations for the first year or two. It may also include a multi-point inspection of your car’s vital systems, such as the brakes, fuel, steering, and exhaust.
Check for Discounted Extended Warranties
All new Nissan vehicles have a factory bumper-to-bumper warranty of three years or 36,000 miles. They also have powertrain coverage for the first five years.
Once the coverage period ends, you’ll have to pay for repairs out of pocket. That’s unless you purchase an extended warranty from your Nissan dealer. If you do, it’ll pay for covered repairs or replacements of OEM Nissan parts.
Luckily, some dealerships also offer discounted rates for extended Nissan warranty programs. So, ask your nearby dealers about this, especially if you plan to keep your new ride for many years.
Take Advantage of Your Loyalty
Are you considering financing your new car purchase through a Nissan dealer? Are you also a current Nissan owner?
If so, you may be eligible to receive an offer called “Loyalty Cash.” You can then use this when purchasing a qualified vehicle. Depending on your chosen model, you can get a Loyalty Cash of up to $1,000.
Get the Most From Your New Nissan Car
Since a new Nissan car will potentially serve you for the next ten years, you must do your due diligence when shopping for one. It should meet all your needs (e.g., interior and cargo space, fuel efficiency, etc.) and be within your budget.
However, extras like a complimentary maintenance plan and a discounted price would also be nice. So, don’t forget to ask about these incentives when you visit your Nissan dealer for a test drive.
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