10 Things To Ask Yourself Before Buying a New Car

Posted by: Dan on 30/04/2015

Category: General

10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a New Car

A new vehicle is a big investment. The last thing you want is to walk away from the transaction with regret, which is why it’s so important to take the time needed to think through all of your wants and needs before you even set foot on the dealer’s lot. That being said, however, you don’t want to spend too much time on this decision, as it’s easy to waste hours upon hours looking for the perfect car and the best price.

Simplify the process and protect against future disappointment by asking yourself the following ten questions before buying a new car.

Do I really need a new car?

Before you do anything else, ask yourself if you actually need a new car in the first place. Has something major gone wrong mechanically that will be more expensive to fix than it would cost you to replace the car? Or do you only want something new because your best friend just picked up a new sports car?

If you can keep your old car looking nice and running well, you can save a lot of money in the long run. But, if it’s starting to break down and you require a more reliable vehicle, don’t worry too much about jumping into a new car. Remember, cars can lose up to 20 per cent of their value from the moment you drive them off the lot. Don’t blow your finances out of vanity.

What will I use the new car for?

It’s easy to get swept up by a flashy new car advertisement without really thinking about your needs. If you’re planning on taking long road trips in the future, consider want a large car with more storage and room for passengers. On the other hand, if you’re planning to commute long distances to work with the vehicle, look for a car with good petrol mileage and drivability.

Finally, if you plan to drive off-road, consider an all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive version that’ll keep you safe on your next big adventure.

Where is the price of petrol going?

Remember, the cost of your car isn’t the only expense you incur while driving. Petrol costs add up, and if your new car consumes more fuel than your old one did, these new expenses can really add up.

If you think you want to buy a car, look to the current price of petrol and let that inform your decision. When gas prices are low, people often buy large trucks, cars and SUVs. But this can cause you long-term financial problems if you have to pay more at the pump in the future. Think long-term when it comes to fuel economy, as prices can - and - will rise.

Will my family size change?

Cars last a long time; you can easily own one for five or ten years - if not longer. If you there’s a chance you’ll be expanding your family in the near future, you may want to consider a van or car with more seating. On the other hand, if you don’t plan on having children - or if they’re already out of the house - you can hop into that two-seater without worrying about how everybody will fit.

Will it last a long time?

Some cars offer great aesthetics, while others are a lot of fun to drive. But, some of these models may be unreliable, and the last thing you want is to waste your time and money unnecessarily at the repair shop. To get an idea on the reliability of a car, do your research. Sure, it may be boring, but it’s the only way you can make sure you invest in a good car.

What exactly do I want?

When buying a car, it’s wise to know what you actually want before you head to the dealer. Otherwise, the seller can easily coax you into spending more cash for features you don’t want or need. If you aren’t confident in the kind of car you want to buy, dealers can use their sales training against you to persuade you into a bigger, “better,” and more expensive model.

Don’t fall victim to their tactics. Take the time to understand your needs and be firm about refusing their upsell offers.

Can I afford it?

It’s easy to get excited about a nicer, newer car, but you’ve got to temper your expectations until you know what you can afford. Besides a monthly payment, remember that you’ll likely have other expenses in the form of taxes and insurance. Furthermore, you’ll still have to buy petrol and pay for repairs that aren’t covered by your warranty - and those can add up quickly.

When you take the time to set a realistic budget, you won’t feel regret after making your first few payments.

Do I like the feel?

It’s easy to watch a video or look at pictures and get excited about a car. But you’ve still got to test drive the car in the real world. How does the car feel when you merge on the highway or drive it through city traffic? Is the steering sharp and the ride smooth? If you don’t evaluate these important sensory experiences now, you may end up with regret the minute you drive off the lot.

Is the insurance high?

Without a doubt, one of the biggest expenses you’ll face as an auto owner is your insurance. Too many people lock themselves into a nice sports car, only to find that their insurance rates are double that of a sedan.

While some people have the money and don’t mind, you should still do your research. This is true whether you’re a 55-year old male or a 25-year-old female. Since insurance rates vary widely, contact your agent and ask him or her for advice. Or, if you buy your insurance online, try to get a quote for that sports car (or whatever other car you want) before sitting down to do the sales paperwork. Otherwise, your “affordable” car may quickly expand beyond your budget.  

Who’s going to drive it?

Finally, if you’re looking to buy a new car, think of all the other drivers who may get behind the wheel at some point. If you’re married and your spouse hates big cars or SUVs, you probably shouldn’t buy the largest vehicle you can find. The same goes if you have kids who may drive your car someday, as you probably won’t want to leave them alone in an expensive sports car.

If you take the time to think about other people’s wants and needs, you’ll avoid some major arguments down the road by ensuring that you get a car that makes everyone happy.

A car purchase is a big decision. It’s not something you should take lightly. Think through your wants and needs, as well as all the potential expenses involved in your purchase. If you take the time to ask yourself the following ten questions, you’ll wind up with the best vehicle for your budget - and no regrets.

Image: Wikimedia Commons