If you’re ready to buy your next vehicle, your first step needs to be assessing your situation. Before you look at a single car, take an hour or so to write down and prioritize your needs. Because most people skip this step, they make a poor decision when they get to the dealership by purchasing the “sexy” car rather than the one that’s best for them. As a result, they either end up selling the vehicle much too soon or spending far too much money on it.
What will be the primary use of your vehicle? Are you going to be taking the kids to and from school every day? Will you be carrying tools to work? Do you have a long commute? Use is the most important thing to consider when you’re buying a vehicle. While an SUV may be a necessity for a large family or a construction worker, it could be a gas-guzzling headache for a businessman with a long commute.
When considering the uses for your next car, make sure you also take into consideration future needs. Are you planning on having children in the next several years? If so, you may want to rethink that coupe. Getting married soon? What does your significant other think about your plan to buy a new sports car? Thinking about your vehicle’s present and future uses can save you from making a shortsighted purchase.
Factors to consider that may depend on usage:
- Gas mileage
- Body type
Your next vehicle purchase can either put you in a great financial position or dig you into a hole that you may not recover from for years to come. Because of this, knowing where you stand financially is crucial to making a wise purchase. You should not only take a hard look at your current income and expenses, but also the stability of your job and future purchases you’ll make. Also remember there are always hidden expenses like taxes and insurance associated with buying a vehicle. Make a realistic decision on how much you can spend and stay firm to that decision, no matter how much you want to buy a car that’s just outside your budget.
Factors to consider that may depend on budget:
- Sticker price
- Insurance cost
Because nobody likes to dwell on the worst possible scenario, many people purchase a car destined to fail them when they need it most. Have you considered how safe you will be if you get into an accident? What are the chances that you’ll be stranded on the side of the road with a mechanical problem? Instead of ignoring risk, face it head on. If you’re buying a car to transport your family every day, you may want to consider only vehicles that rate highly for safety. If, on the other hand, you’re handy under the hood, you may be able to tolerate an older car that has a tendency to break down.
Factors to consider that may depend on risk:
- Safety features
Let’s face it, part of buying a car is choosing something we actually want to drive. There’s nothing wrong with making personal preferences a part of your decision as long as you know your priorities. Is a sunroof and leather seats important to you? As long as these features fit into your budget, there’s no reason not to choose these luxuries. Where many consumers falter is placing too much of an emphasis on personal preferences that don’t actually matter. Too many people purchase a car that’s wrong for them because it has an iPod connection. Or speakers that light up when music plays. Or eight cup holders. Or blue paint. Make a list of preferences, but know where these preferences fit into your overall decision.
Factors to consider that may depend on preferences: