Cars are a major investment. These questions will help you make an informed decision and leave the dealership happy.
1. How much do you have to spend?
Decide how much money to spend each month and over the long-term.
The true cost of owning a car includes fuel costs and insurance. Edmunds will help you estimate the cost of each item over a five year period.
An auto loan calculator can be used to calculate how different rates and repayment terms affect your monthly payment, and the total interest that you will pay.
2. Who’s driving?
The primary driver of your car will determine which model you choose. A sports car or pickup truck is not the best option if you are a parent looking for a car your teenager will use. You will need more storage and seats if you have a large family, or if you plan to carpool to school or soccer practice.
3. What is the primary purpose?
If your car is primarily used for commutes to work, comfort and gas mileage should be a major concern. Before you purchase the car, take the time to test it out at the dealership. You can adjust the climate control and seat to make sure it is the right fit. You can test drive the car in cold conditions to determine how fast the windows warm up or defrost.
Consider where you’ll be driving, what you’ll be carrying and how long it will take. Look for models that are able to withstand wear and tear, especially if you plan on driving long distances or traversing rough terrain. If you drive a lot on narrow streets, a smaller vehicle may be more suitable.
4. What horsepower do you require?
A four-cylinder car is reliable and efficient for most drivers. A four-cylinder car will cost less to maintain and insurance. A four-cylinder car might not be for you if you are passionate about performance driving and need to accelerate quickly onto busy freeways.
5. Are you a frequent tow- or hauler?
Do you need a vehicle that can tow a boat or an RV? Small cars don’t have enough horsepower, transmission or chassis to meet the requirements. Even small SUVs can’t handle the job. Make sure to check the vehicle’s payload and towing capacities.
Check your garage to see if you can fit a larger vehicle in it. Many drivers overlook this step. Some SUVs, trucks, and vans may be too large or too small to fit in many garages. Measure before you buy.
6. Do you consider fuel economy to be important?
Consider how much you can afford to pay for a car before you sign off on it. Economy cars and hatchbacks get the best mileage, particularly if they’re traditional or plug-in hybrids. Premium gas will be required for a luxury vehicle. This fuel is more expensive than regular or mid-grade fuel.
7. What length of time do you intend to keep it?
Some vehicles are more susceptible to depreciation than others. To find out how much your vehicle is worth, look at car guides. This is particularly important if you are a quick car buyer: A car that hasn’t lost much in the first five years will get you a better deal when you trade it in.
Some cars last longer than others. Subarus, Toyotas Fords, Hondas, and Fords are all well-known for their durability.
8. Are you looking to buy or lease?
There are different financial risks involved in leasing and buying a vehicle. Leasing can be a great option if you are looking for the latest vehicle without having to pay as much each month. However, you will not be able to recoup the cost of your lease by selling your car. You will need to be careful about the condition of your vehicle and comply with any mileage caps.
You are fully in control of your vehicle and won’t be subject to any mileage restrictions. However, you will need to keep your car longer than you would with leases to make the investment worthwhile. You will also likely pay higher monthly payments.