Buying a car is one of the most important purchases for most of us. With so many makes and models in today’s rugged marketplace, finding the right car to meet your needs can seem overwhelming. Because you will be spending a lot of time in your car, making the right choice is essential.
To help you narrow down your options, we’ve compiled a list of things to consider when choosing a vehicle that will give you plenty of miles and smiles on the road.
Needs vs wants
What you need in a car – and what you won’t need – doesn’t always match. For example, you could want to a flashy sports car but need a family-oriented SUV. Making and comparing a list of needs and wants is an important first step in determining which vehicle is best for you. Consider these important points when making your list.
- Number of passengers.
- Do you use child seats?
- Amount of cargo space needed for transportation, entertainment, luggage and groceries.
- Leg and clear height of the driver.
- Travel time and distance traveled – longer may require a car with better gas mileage.
- Primary type of driving – highway, city, rough terrain.
- Local Climate – In areas with heavy snow and ice, you may need an all-wheel drive vehicle.
- Are you planning to tow something?
- Essential in terms of safety: reversing camera, lane assist, blind spot assist.
- Parking constraints – narrow driveway, small garage, street parking.
- Wish list of options – GPS navigation, leather seats, power and / or heated seats, sunroof, running boards (for a truck), exterior and interior colors.
Once you have covered these points, you will have a list of essential criteria to share with your car salesperson.
It is essential to set a budget for the purchase of your vehicle because you never want to buy more car than you can afford. Important financial matters include:
- Do you need a car loan?
- What’s the highest car payment you can afford? Your monthly payment should not exceed 15% of your net monthly income.
- How much credit do you have? Loan and rental lenders may charge higher interest rates for a low score.
- Are you going to deposit money?
- Do you benefit from any type of discount on vehicles? Some automakers, like General Motors, offer employees discounts on vehicle purchases that extend to family members as well.
Keep in mind that racking up too many serious credit applications can have a temporary impact on your credit score when shopping for auto loans.
In calculating car-related expenses, you should also include car insurance costs and an estimate of how much you spend on gasoline each week or month. Make sure the total cost stays within your vehicle’s budget.
Purchase vs rental
If you don’t drive a lot of miles and prefer lower payments, you should explore car rental options. On the other hand, if you have long commutes, drive for a living, or know you’re going to be going a lot of miles in a car, purchasing a vehicle may be preferable.
In addition, leases limit the number of kilometers and the length of time you own a private car. Rental companies may also charge you for any unrepaired damage, dents, scratches, or dents when you return your car. In addition to a lower payment, the benefits of leasing include driving a new car every few years. Most repairs are under warranty and you don’t have to worry about trade-in benefits.
Find and compare cars that match your criteria
You are armed with your needs and wants, and you’ve budgeted. Now, it’s time to search for matches. For years, buying a vehicle meant going to a dealership and scouring the field to examine the available inventory – and you still can. But, you can also search online with car search tools to cut down on travel time between dealerships.
The National Association of Automobile Dealers (NADA) has a full car finder here. You can also Google local dealers near you and search their websites for pricing and availability.
Take a test drive
Whether you find potential vehicles online or while exploring local terrain, you should always try a car before you buy it. This way you can see if you like the way it handles, identify the negatives (like a bad blind spot, cramped legroom, or not enough power), and make sure it ticks the boxes. needs and wants on your list.
If possible, pick three or four potential choices and set up a test drive of each model. You owe it to yourself to try out several options – who knows what you might be missing out on if you buy the first car you see?
Consider and decide
Once you’ve driven the vehicles and weighed how everyone feels, compare the cost of each with the must-haves on your list. The best vehicle for you should surface. Try not to let emotions influence your purchase. Instead, focus on your criteria and the pros and cons of each model. A clear winner will eventually emerge.
Overall, purchasing a vehicle is an important process. If you do your research and follow these tips, finding the perfect car for you will be easier than you might think.
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