11 Things You Must Do Before Going From One Car to Two

Woman shopping for a new car, with a saleswoman.
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Having two cars can make life easier and more convenient in many ways. You don’t have to negotiate timing with your family or fellow car owners. Plus, you’ve got an extra car for emergencies, and as a backup if anything goes wrong with your first car.

While there are many good reasons to have two cars, there are also many factors to consider before you make this leap. Here are some things you should do before putting another car in your driveway.

Do Your Research

Once you have a budget in mind, it’s time to start shopping around. Patryk Doornebos, owner and lead author of the automotive blog, Car Triple, suggested you ensure you’re doing your research.

“Read reviews of different cars and compare prices,” he said. “You may also want to consider talking to a mechanic to get their recommendations.”

Get Pre-Approved for a Loan

If you’re planning on financing your second car, it’s a good idea to get pre-approved for a loan before you start shopping. This will give you an idea of how much you can borrow and what your monthly payments will be, Doornebos said.

Negotiate the Price

Once you find a car that you’re happy with it’s time to negotiate the price.

“Don’t be afraid to haggle with the seller,” Doornebos said. 

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Whether it’s an independent seller or a dealership, they’re often willing to come down in price if they know they’ll make the sale.

Get Everything in Writing

Once you’ve agreed on a price, be sure to get everything in writing.

“This includes the purchase agreement, insurance information, and financing paperwork,” Doornebos said.

Most dealerships will do this. But if you’re buying from an individual or a used sales operation, you want to make sure you’re covered in case you discover any problems after purchase.

Ensure Enough Parking Space

When you buy a second car, sometimes it’s the most basic things you forget to think about.

“Ensure you have adequate space to park and maintain two cars,” said John Lin, owner of JB Motor Works. “It’s not just about having two spots — consider how you’ll maneuver them without causing damage.”

Don’t Underestimate Maintenance

Lin said you need to think beyond just the price of the car and factor in maintenance as well. Two cars mean double the maintenance, tires, oil, brake pads etc., and all of this will add up.

“A tip for reducing this cost is to choose your second car wisely,” Lin said. “Going for a low-maintenance vehicle, possibly a newer model with less mileage, can save you from unexpected costs.”

Prepare for Higher Insurance Premiums

Another financial consideration for a second car is the increase in insurance premiums, Lin said.

“Insurance often skyrockets with a second vehicle, particularly if the new addition is a high-performance machine or a lesser-known model parts of which may be hard to come by,” he said.

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Fuel Consumption/Efficiency

And if car payments, insurance, and maintenance costs aren’t enough, don’t forget the running costs, including fuel consumption.

“If the additional car is going to be used less frequently, thinking about getting a model that offers good fuel efficiency or even considering hybrid/electric models could be beneficial,” Lin said. 

It’s essential to assess how a second car fits into your budget overall. “Can you comfortably afford the related costs without impacting your financial stability and goals?” Lin asked. “If the answer is yes, then you’re on the right track.”

Consider Depreciation

Another point to consider is depreciation. “The value of a car drops from the moment it leaves the dealership, and this can impact the resale value significantly,” Lin said. “Although most people don’t think about reselling when buying a new car, it’s always good to have an exit strategy.”

Maintenance History 

If you’re buying a used vehicle, make sure you request the maintenance history of the used car you’re considering, said Stanley Hawkin, automotive expert with Vehicle Chef.

“A well-maintained vehicle can save you from unexpected repair expenses down the road,” he said.

Consider Financing Options 

Remember that you don’t have to pay for a car in cash.

“Explore financing options, comparing interest rates, and understanding the terms of the loan,” Hawkin said. “A strategic financing plan can positively impact your long-term financial health.”

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