Buying a car, like buying any other big ticket item, can be a stressful experience. It is always a life-changing event — so it is essential that consumers carefully consider their options. On average, most Americans will own less than ten cars in their entire lifetime — so we clearly don’t get much practice at car shopping.
There are some simple mistakes that many of us make when buying a new car that are easy to avoid. By answering some key questions, however, the process is much simpler. Here is a guide to help you make the right decision when buying your next car:
Things to Consider When in the Market for a New Car
What will I primarily be using the car for?
Match the car with your automobile needs. If the vehicle will only be used to travel to and from work, then you shouldn’t get something that’s geared toward high-performance or off-roading. A simple commuter car will do. If you get a lot of snow or heat where you live, plan accordingly and get a car that is good at handling the conditions you’ll be driving in. For example: A convertible would be a bad idea to own in Fargo, North Dakota, and you probably wouldn’t need a car with good snow handling in L.A.
How long does this car need to last?
Getting an inexpensive used car now is a great way to allow you to have some financial freedom until you can afford the car of your dreams in the future. Invest in yourself. Don’t get yourself strapped down with an expensive car loan when you could be saving money. Paying off an inexpensive car can also help you build credit in order to get a better loan on the car of your dreams.
What is my credit rating?
As much as we hate to admit it, our credit score dictates much of what we are able to buy in today’s economy. A low or non-existent credit score can cost you big when buying a car. If you are looking to purchase a second vehicle to accommodate the needs of your family, getting an auto loan on your current vehicle might be a viable option to finance your purchase. You may not be able to secure a loan and if you do, it may be at a high interest rate. Check your credit so you’re not blindsided when it comes to getting a financing deal.
How important are safety features?
Safety can be a huge hidden cost when buying any car. Shop around to different insurance companies to get a good idea of how much you’ll be paying each month in insurance. The safer the car, the cheaper the insurance, generally. When deciding between two cars on your list, go with the car with the higher safety ratings, even if it is a little bit more up front. This will give you peace of mind while driving and will save you money every month.
Is the car in question reliable?
Another hidden cost when buying a car. Even the most trusted car companies can put out cars that break down a lot. Research the car you’re thinking of buying. Find out as much as you can about possible maintenance problems. The last thing you want to do is to have to take your car into the shop every month or two for something that could have been avoided altogether. You should be able to trust your car to get you where you need it to go. An unexpected breakdown can cost you not only at the shop, but in loss of work, so learn before you buy.
Buying a car should be a joyous occasion. Avoid automobile disaster by following these simple tips. Whether you’re in a Lamborghini or a Chevy, you still have to drive the same speed in the grocery store parking lot. Unless you’re planning on racing for pink slips or breaking the world land speed record, then you should buy a car that will fulfil your needs and doesn’t cost you more than you need to spend. Dream big, but buy within your means.