Buying a car requires a significant financial commitment. And whether you have decided to invest in a brand new car or purchase a used vehicle, it can be difficult to determine exactly which car to buy. After all, your options can seem overwhelming.
While there are a lot of factors to consider before making your final decision, your answers to these four questions will provide you with enough insight to confidently begin your vehicle search.
Buying a Car that Fits Both Your Needs and Budget
Successfully choosing the right car to purchase requires the ability to think ahead. Yes, you want to purchase a vehicle that you are happy with right now, but you will also want to consider long-term requirements.
- How long will you be keeping this car?
If you are a college student and just want a very basic car that you will use minimally and for only a couple of years, a very inexpensive used vehicle may serve your needs well. Just make sure that you are still looking at reliable cars that won't fall apart and end up costing you a small fortune in repair bills. On the other hand, if you are looking for a family vehicle that will be in constant use for a number of years, it may be wise to seek out a more affordable new car or a certified pre-owned vehicle that comes with at least a portion of its factory warranty. You will also want to pay close attention to reviews and current owner feedback.
- Do you like the way the car drives?
It is easy enough to fall in love with an online picture and description of a car, but you won't really know whether or not your feelings are genuine until you drive the vehicle. A car can look great but drive horribly, and everyone has a different definition of what "driving horribly" means. There may be something about a vehicle's steering that is fine with most drivers, but is completely unacceptable to you. If you see a car that you like, schedule a test drive. If possible, drive a few vehicles so that you have a point of comparison.
- How much will the car cost to own?
When comparing vehicle prices, many buyers focus on purchasing costs. However, the amount that you pay for a car is only the initial expense. You will also need to consider depreciation, financing costs, repairs, general maintenance, fuel and insurance. For help in determining which cars are wallet-friendly over the long haul, take a look at Intellichoice.com. They provide 5-Year Cost of Ownership projections for both new and used cars. Having access to this information may make it much easier to decide between vehicles with similar price tags.
- Can you realistically afford this car?
Subtract the total of your regular expenses and recurring bills from the amount of your monthly take-home pay. The number that you arrive at should NOT equal the cost of your car payment. You never, ever want to spread yourself too thin financially. After your car payment is taken care of, you should have enough left over to pay for costs associated with vehicle ownership and still have some money remaining to put towards your savings. If you currently have damaged credit and are working towards credit repair, you should give exceptionally strong consideration to affordability when buying a car.
There is a vehicle out there for almost every person and nearly every budget. And if you want to narrow down your options to only those that are economically savvy, get your financing figured out before doing any serious car shopping.
Simplifying the Car Buying Process
Financing a car is challenging enough, but the process seems to get even more complicated if you are a buyer with credit issues. Let Drivers Lane make your buying experience as easy and hassle-free as possible. Even if you have severely tarnished credit, we can connect you with a local dealer who is qualified to get you approved for an auto loan. You may even be able to purchase your vehicle with little or no money down.
Just fill out our fast and secure online application. Our service is free, so you have nothing to lose but more time without a car.