How to choose the right car for your needs

How to choose the right car for your needs

Finding the perfect car to suit your needs doesn’t sound tricky, but it can be. When we shop for cars, we are often swayed by the shiny sports models on the floor rather than looking at the more practical models that are available. The many cars for sale from different dealerships across the country can be confusing to first-time buyers and old-hands alike. Outlined below is some helpful advice on how to choose the right car for your needs.

Figure out what you need

You need to be honest with yourself when you consider what you need in a car. How many times a week do you really go camping in the mountains or need to pull a large trailer behind you? Or, how often do you go speeding down a freeway with your car’s roof dropped?

Make a list of your daily needs, including where you travel to and from most. You can then work with this list when looking at car sales in your area. If you have a large family and need room for five passengers, then a large SUV is the perfect choice. You do, however, essentially want your car to be able to ‘multitask’ offering you the ability to take children to and from school while also performing well on long road trips.

Think about new or used

Once you have figured out your needs, you will have to decide on a new or a used car. Used car sales are rising due to the benefits of owning a used car, such as affordability and lower depreciation rates. However, a new car does come with a full warranty for those unexpected costs.

Used cars do not compromise on quality, as you can find well-priced certified pre-owned options which offer the same quality as new models. You will need to be sure that the manufacturer has certified the car and not the dealer, as manufacturer certified models have the correct warranties and other documentation included. It is important to decide on a new or used vehicle, as this will directly affect your budget and expenses.

Set your budget

Once you have drawn up a list of your needs and decided on whether to get a new or used car, you will need to set your budget. Unless you already have the money needed to purchase a car, you will need to take out a car loan.

It is smart to keep these expenses (payment, insurance, fuel, maintenance, repairs, registration) to twenty percent or less of your monthly take-home pay in order for your new car purchase to remain feasible. Avoid the temptation to stretch you loan past 60 months, just to buy a more expensive car. Your budget will need to take into account your monthly petrol costs, as well as any maintenance fees. Try to set up a savings pocket or account where you can keep money in case of any vehicle-related emergencies.

Set up a test drive

Once you have set your budget and decided on what model of car you prefer, you will need to set up a test drive. A test drive is vital, as you will be able to feel how the car handles traffic, uphills and highways.

During your test drive, you should remember to turn the radio off so you can listen to any suspicious sounds that may come from the engine, especially while idling. Remember to let the dealers know that you may not be purchasing the car after the drive, but that you want to get a feel for at least three models that you are undecided on. Test driving is important, as you will be able to figure out if the car you like is the right car for you.

Consider all options

If you have decided on a car after a test drive, but have found that the price tag is too high, you should look at other models in the class to find other options. For example, you may have fallen in love with the new Polo Vivo but cannot afford the latest model. A ford Figo or Fiesta is in the same class as a Polo Vivo (compact to mid-sized cars) but could be more affordable.

It is important to consider all of the available options as you may not find the exact model you are looking for. Considering every option opens up windows of opportunity for car-shoppers, but remember to think with your head and not with your heart. Take a friend or family member with you when choosing a car, and ask for their opinions on the models you prefer. Car classes often have a wide range of models available so you will be able to find the perfect one to suit your needs.

Photo by paulius.malinovskis

Authored by: mjones

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