Buying a car is a pretty massive financial decision to make – unless you’re super-rich, you can’t just blow thirty or forty grand on something without thinking carefully about whether it’s the right decision or not. It is imperative, therefore, that this is a calculated decision instead of an impulsive one. Before buying a car, it is necessary to look into the various factors involved so that you can be sure you’ve made the correct choice.
Here are a few things that you need to consider when making your car-purchasing decision.
- Choose the car that you need, not the car that you want
You might want the two-seater sports car with the racing stripe down the side, but that’s not going to be much good when you want to take the wife and kids down to the seaside, is it? Think practically while choosing. Make a note of things like a car’s size, its technical specifications and its fuel efficiency. Don’t fall for a sleek design – go for a modest design.
- Gauging your budget
No more than a third of your income should go towards paying off the car – when you’ve got things like mortgages and weekly food budgets to factor in as well, you need to keep costs as low as possible. It’s also important to remember that the price of the car will depreciate with time, so you need to be aware of the best time to trade in and upgrade.
- Should you opt for a used car?
On one hand, buying a used car means that you spend less initially, but on the other hand it might be preferable to buy a showroom model because you could end up spending a lot more in maintaining a used car which then ends up having a lot of problems further down the line. A brand-new car would negate those issues. If your heart’s set on a used Chrysler 300 in Los Angeles, you may not find one that has been previously owned for a few months, as it has only recently been released for general purchase.
- Look out for the best prices online and in showrooms
Check out all of the online resources to get the best prices. When negotiating with dealers, be aware that their initial prices are informed by the manufacturer’s suggested market price. You can save a decent amount (but even dealers have to make a profit, so they won’t go down too far) if you can haggle them down, but every salesman is different and every car is different. Don’t take the quoted price straightaway – shop around and negotiate to get the best deal.
- Should you pay all at once or stagger payments?
Well before arriving in the showroom for a test drive and dealing with salesmen, you must decide whether you want to pay for the car all at once or stagger payments until you’ve forked over the full amount. Try to complete the financing formalities for the loan or lease well in advance because this too will demand that you negotiate for favorable terms.
- Wait for the opportune moment
When a new car is launched, it’s going to be very difficult to get it for less than the RRP. It’s better, therefore, to buy a car when you can take advantage of festive discounts and year-end promotional offers. As the car slowly starts to pick up sales, the dealer’s profits are also increased and with time, he will allow discounts in order to keep sales high.
- Motor insurance
You can’t legally drive on the roads if you don’t have the right insurance, and as such you must seek the advice of insurance companies. If you have not made any claims, you can ask for a discount on new car insurance. The savings can be quite considerable for high end models.
- Trade-in offers
Various dealers offer trade-in offers whereby you can get better prices for your car. Classified sites for used cars can also give you an idea of your present car’s market value so that you can negotiate and get as much as you can taken off the amount you have to pay for your new car.
- The test drive
While taking a test drive, think about the areas in which you’d be driving most days and take the car to those roads to see how it handles them – you can then make a more informed decision about whether the car is the right one for you. The Chrysler, for example, handles pretty much any road perfectly, but there’s only one way for you to be certain.
- Check it out
Before taking the car outside the showroom, check around the exterior for any manufacturing defects (if you know what to look for, though it would have been checked before leaving the plant) and also make sure that it has a spare wheel, as many manufacturers have begun to omit them in order to decrease the car’s overall weight.