If you or someone you care about is looking to buy a car, there are probably a hundred things you should consider. I’m not going to throw a hundred things at you, but I do want to throw out three things that you should think about before you sign your name for a new (or just new to you) automobile…
Needs vs. Wants: What are you going to be using your new ride for? A long commute? Weekend trips to the mountains? These are just a couple of questions you should consider. A smart car might get incredible gas mileage during your 40-minute commute, but that little fella is pretty much worthless when it comes to a cargo space. Sure, you may be able to get a bag of groceries home, but what about that 30-gal trash can or 6-foot step ladder you wanted to get at Lowe’s? And a jeep might be a cool ride for a trip to the beach or mountains, but the sound of a soft-top rattling in the wind is going to get old quick if you have to spend time on the highway on your way to work every day. And don’t forget about things like Bluetooth connectivity and heated seats. You really need to sit down and weigh your options before getting too excited about what car looks the coolest.
Monthly payments vs. Total price: So, you love the monthly payments, but are you really considering how much a new car is going to cost you by the time you’ve paid if off in six years? And maybe you’re a big fan of the total price you’re getting, but you know the monthly payments are going to take some sacrifice in your budget. Is that something you really want to deal with? And have you factored in other costs like insurance, gas, oil changes, tires, and preventative maintenance? Take your time and make a list so you can get a better idea of the true cost of your new ride.
Know your car before you buy: The best advice I could give you before buying a new car is to get to know it before it’s yours. Do some research and see how other owners are feeling about their purchase. And always take a test drive. Don’t just ride up and down the boulevard. Put a few miles on it. Ride through parking lots. How does it ride? Is it only smooth on smooth roads? What’s it like going over a speed bump? Some cars let you feel everything, and that’s not ideal. When it comes time to buy, you shouldn’t be buying a mystery. It should feel like you’re bringing an old friend home.