5 Things to Consider When You Pick Out a Car
Posted 14 July 2016 12:00 AM by J.D. Byrider
Looking for a car is a daunting task. You have to find something that will fit you and your family’s needs, and you need to be able to comfortably make the payments each month. Ideally, you’ll also find something that you’re proud of and happy to drive. We’ve compiled a list of the top 5 things to evaluate when you’re looking at used cars.
You should be completely comfortable with the amount you can pay towards your car every month. If that means giving up going out for dinner once a week, or getting coffee from the office instead of Starbucks, that’s fine as long as you know that it’s a concrete step you’re willing to make to get a newer car. If you have vague plans about how you could save money but no real plan, you should reconsider your budget. Ideally, you’ll be able to have enough for your payment and a little left over for registration fees, maintenance and any repairs you may eventually need to do.
The number of people you can fit into a car will never change, which means you have to make sure your entire family will fit comfortably into the vehicle you pick. You should have room for groceries, of course, but also consider if the whole family and your luggage would fit into the vehicle. On the other hand, just like a house, you’ll pay more for more space. Don’t get a minivan if you only have one or two children. You’ll end up with a higher purchase price and a higher lifetime cost.
You probably don’t need an off-road capable vehicle if you live in the suburbs and spend your weekends at the mall. If you like that SUVs sit higher, consider a more fuel-efficient hybrid or hatchback. If you’re a big fan of trucks but you can’t see yourself ever actually using the truck bed for hauling anything, hold off on buying one. With SUVs, minivans and trucks, your purchase price will be higher, and the cost of maintenance, repairs and fuel will be significantly higher. You can always purchase your dream car later in life when you have more disposable income and a better credit score.
Don’t forget to consider if you actually like the car or not. If you’re excited to drive it, and happy with the condition of the vehicle, making your payments every month will be a lot easier. External things like the color of the paint don’t really matter that much, but remember that you may be driving your car for a while, and you should be proud of it.
What does your contract cover? Is there a limited warranty or optional extended service agreement? These can protect you from a situation where you can’t afford a repair, but you still have to make your payments on a vehicle that isn’t running. Is there a service discount? The major difference between a car that lasts 200,000 miles and one that dies at 100,000 is how well it’s taken care of. Regular oil changes and service visits can keep your car running long past your final payment on it.
Looking for more tips on buying a car with bad credit? Read our guide to buying a car with bad credit to learn more.
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