Last Updated on March 2, 2021
The circumstances of your lifestyle dictate almost every major decision that you make so your vehicle should be no exception. There is much to consider when weighing your options between not only the type of vehicle you should get but also how you acquire it.
Keeping your needs and your budget in mind are two of the most essential considerations, and they need to be paired with the consideration of time. How long you intend to use your next vehicle will help you to put a plan into motion to find the one that best suits each aspect of your life.
Where to Shop
Before you can identify the specific car that you intend to purchase you have to think about where you will go to shop your options. Purchasing a vehicle is part of a highly competitive market so that means that you as a buyer should certainly compare options and prices and use that to your advantage. Start online with the basics, you can find how-to guides from TireKickers that will walk you through the entire process, starting with where to look.
If you plan to lease a vehicle then you are limited in your choices, you will have to go through a dealer, but that does not mean that you do not have choices amongst different ones. Even if you decide to go the dealer route, consider factors like personal history with a specific dealership, advertised promotions, and price matching between competitors as you begin your search.
Dealers have a large range of access and will want your business no matter which car you end up selecting, if they consider you a serious buyer then they will work harder to meet your budget terms.
Buying a used car opens your list of options significantly. Some common places consumers can consider when purchasing a used car are dealers, for sale by owner ads, social media marketplaces, and car auctions. But be careful with your research. You don’t want to end up having to junk your car at a junkyard. Each arena will have a unique set of pros and cons so this is where research comes into play. Understanding where you might have to compromise and where you should not have to, to get the best deal ahead of time will help you manage your own expectations as you get deeper into the process.
You will need to take the sticker price into account but do not forget about the other costs associated with owning a vehicle. The purchase price may be the largest upfront, but it certainly might not be the largest overall. Comparing the expenses between multiple vehicle options will give you a good indication of how each potential choice will fit into your existing lifestyle and budget.
Fuel, insurance, and maintenance are three of the top additional cost factors that you need to be prepared for. Although fuel costs are ever-changing and that is out of your control, what you can look at is the miles per gallon for the vehicles you are debating between. Calculating an average value of what a full tank of gas will cost you will ease the blow if your new car differs greatly from your previous one.
Insurance is another piece of the puzzle that you should not settle on. With so many different options for car insurance, you could be wasting hundreds of dollars by not doing your due diligence. Leasing a vehicle will come with a specific insurance minimum, as will vehicles purchased with a loan, but if you buy a car outright that presents more flexibility in terms of coverage plans and overall costs.
Vehicle maintenance can be a fickle variable. Older vehicles will require more frequent attention than new ones. But even with a brand-new car, you can never discount the chance that you may have an emergent or unexpected repair pop up. Vehicle inspections and warranties can have a huge bearing on helping you to pick the right car for your lifestyle. Conversely, if you are even moderately handy to the point of being able to DIY the repair of common vehicle issues that might be something to consider in terms of cost savings as they relate to your chosen vehicle.
Size and Capability
What is the primary purpose of the vehicle you are seeking to purchase? Thinking about how the car will be expected to perform will weed out options that simply do not make sense. For example, if this is meant to be the family car, a two-seater sports car is probably not a sensible purchase. Passenger capacity is important but there is more to think about in addition to interior space.
Who will be the primary driver of this vehicle and what can he/she handle in terms of height and overall size of the vehicle? The main driver needs to feel comfortable behind the wheel to facilitate safe driving practices.
The features and capabilities of the vehicle also will not mean much if they are lost on the owner. In terms of your budget, it will benefit you greatly to think about what you need out of this vehicle and go from there. If you need something large enough to handle frequent road trips, then selecting a small car simply because it is inexpensive to the point where you end up needing to travel as a caravan with other vehicles is not saving you any money in the long run.
Your level of respect and concern for the environment will no doubt sneak into your car buying process. Although your vehicle must suit your everyday needs and budget for some it is important to marry that what that means coming from a green perspective. Hybrid cars have lower emissions and get better mileage than traditional cars do, which will help contribute to an overall reduction of fuel consumption.
For those that are even more conscious of the impact of their vehicles on the planet, electric cars are a popular option. Taking all these factors into consideration might appear overwhelming but the process is meant to create a smooth experience for buyers no matter which combination of options they select. Both first time and veteran buyers will benefit from research, comparison, and planning when determining which vehicle best suits their lifestyle.