Top Tips to Help You Buy the Right Car

Buying a car is one of those tasks we nearly all have to experience during our lifetimes, and depending on your point of view it can an expensive chore or an exciting adventure. Whatever your views are on cars, whether they’re treasured possessions or just necessary modes of transportation, you still need to ask yourself the same kinds of questions before heading out for a test drive.

What am I going to use the car for?

Cars are essentially functional items; they’re made with a specific purpose in mind, i.e., getting you from point A to point B and back again. When you’re thinking about the answer to the question of what you’re going to do with the car, take into account whether you have children, how many, what ages, if you have seniors in your life who you might need to transport regularly or dogs to carry around. You want the most comfortable, spacious vehicle you can afford that suits the type of people or animals you’re likely to be carrying most often.

You also need to think about the kind of terrain you’ll be driving on. Is it all cities and highways, or will you need to go off-road, and if so, how rough will it be? What else might you need your car to do? Perhaps you want to tow a trailer or caravan or carry bulky items on a roof rack. If you buy a car that doesn’t fulfill the functions you require of it, it’s a very costly waste of your money, and could be a massive pain in the neck. What about environmental issues, like pollution rates and fuel consumption; or the cost of servicing, parts, and repairs?

What kind of driving experience do I want?

Many drivers have little or no interest in the way their car feels to drive beyond it being safe, comfortable, and having all the equipment they need. For others, the most important factor is what a car feels like to drive, and practical considerations come second. Or you could be in the middle – you enjoy driving and like a car that feels responsive and handles well, but you need it to be practical as well.

How you feel about driving is only important to the extent that it affects your enjoyment of your car. If you’re after the most luxurious, comfortable driving experience, you need to make that clear when you’re looking at cars, so you don’t waste time on cars you won’t be interested in. Likewise, if you’re passionate about having a sub-five second 0-60 time, you don’t want to be trying out slower vehicles that don’t have that level of acceleration. There are some cars that provide both, but these will be at the more expensive end of the market.

How should I pay for my new car?

You might be getting some cash back for your old car to put towards the new one, but that’s unlikely to cover the complete cost unless you’re planning to downgrade. One option is to take out a loan or sign up for a lease deal, where you pay monthly installments to use the car, then after so many years pay the balance if you want to keep it, or trade up to a newer model.

You’ll need to have a reasonable credit history to take advantage of borrowing facilities, so if your credit score isn’t very good, contact a specialist credit advice service, who can help you buy a car with bad credit. As with any kind of borrowing, make sure you can afford the repayments, check the terms carefully before signing up, and be careful with lease agreements that you’re not going to end up severely out of pocket. Credit is a convenient way to manage buying an expensive purchase like a car, but you don’t want to be in a position where you lose the car because you can’t pay the installments on time.

Have a look at the options for cars that fit your practical requirements, so you can come up with a shortlist of potential makes and models. Then it’s just a question of searching for those cars at dealerships or waiting for them to be listed privately.

When your old car is getting a bit shabby and unreliable, or you get a pay raise and decide to upgrade, it’s time to get out there and buy a new car. If you love cars, this could be a prospect that’s filling you with joy; on the other hand, it may be filling you with dread. Love it or hate it, do yourself a favor and make sure you buy the right car.