Auto Shopping Advice In Grand Rapids, Michigan

Auto Shopping Advice for Grand Rapids, MI

At Borgman Ford Mazda, we’ve been helping generations of drivers in the Grand Rapids, MI area choose and maintain their vehicles. Our knowledgeable staff will share their insight on the features and benefits of each model of new or used Ford and Mazda cars, plus other vehicles we receive on trade.

Whether you are looking for a fuel-efficient car, a hybrid, a sporty convertible, or a family SUV, we’ll help you navigate the process, from vehicle research to financing. Here are some initial steps, links to our inventory, and links to more car shopping advice articles.

Determine the costs and price to suit your budget

You may be really excited by some of the models and high tech features that will enhance your driving experience. But the first step in buying a car should be to estimate what price range you can afford, and evaluate the ongoing costs such as fuel and upkeep.

Consumers Reports has an excellent section on it’s website outlining step-by-step auto-buying guidance if you’d like to read more in-depth advice on the web. Alternately, our financing specialists will help you evaluate your car-buying budget.

Here are some key considerations when considering your budget, as outlined at Consumers Reports:
Down payment How much money can you pay up front in cash, with a trade-in, or both?
Monthly payment If you plan to borrow money, what is the maximum payment you can afford every month?

While it may be possible to find an auto loan that requires a low down payment, it’s best to, put down as much as you can afford—preferably at least 20 percent. A higher down payment reduces the amount of money you need to borrow, which lowers your monthly payments and reduces the amount of interest you’ll pay overall.

A down payment doesn’t have to be all cash. If you already have a car, any trade-in allowance we give you can be credited toward your down payment. Or you can sell it yourself, which might get you more money than trading it in. But you may need to do it before you buy your car.

To get a ballpark figure for the monthly payment, Consumer Reports’ financial experts recommend that your total debt payment be no more than 36 percent of your gross income. Going by this rule, you can use the following steps to determine how much you can afford:

• Calculate what 36 percent of your gross monthly income is.
• Itemize and total all your monthly payments, including your mortgage or rent, credit card bills, and other installment loans.
• Subtract the total of your monthly payments from the 36 percent figure.
For example, if your pretax income is $75,000, total debt payments should not exceed $27,000 a year. If your existing debt payments equal, say, $20,000 a year, you can afford to pay $7,000 annually, or $583 a month, for car payments.

By knowing your down payment and monthly payment, along with a typical interest rate and the number of years you’re willing to make car payments (the term of the loan), you can calculate the price of the vehicle that you can afford and the loan amount for which you’ll need to qualify. You can see what the interest rates are by calling your bank, credit union, or other lending institution. You can also go online to see prevailing rates at

In addition to the vehicle price, you need to consider other costs, including:

• Sales tax
• Registration fees
• Insurance premiums
Taxes and registration fees can increase your out-of-pocket cost by as much as 10 percent or more, and driving a car that’s worth more than your current one will cost more to insure. Be sure to check with your insurance agent or get insurance quotes online so you understand what you’re getting into.

Next Steps – Research Your Vehicles

For the latest information and reviews, click on any of the links at the bottom of this page to view individual model pages with direct links into our inventory. Or take a peruse through our inventory by clicking the side button, which will take you into our database. If you’re still at the point where you’re determining what TYPE of car or truck best suits your work or leisure needs, take a peek at this roundup of vehicle types.

Try Your Ride at Borgman

While web research is useful, nothing beats the car-buyer bonding experience of the test drive. Stop by our showrooms for a spin! Borgman Ford Mazda has been helping families in West Michigan “find their ride” for over 50 years. We’re home to the fair and square deal.


© 2024 - Borgman Ford Mazda Grand Rapids News