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How to Choose a Car That’s Right for You

August 31, 2018 in Tips

Step 1. Assess Your Needs

The “perfect car” depends on who you are and what you expect from a car. For those who need a vehicle for work or extensive daily duties, functionality should trump flash. Here are some practical considerations to think about before purchasing:

  • How many passengers do you need to carry?
  • What type of driving do you do? Is it primarily highway, surface streets, off-road?
  • Is fuel economy important to you?
  • Do you need all-wheel drive?
  • What safety features are important to you?
  • How much cargo capacity do you need?
  • Will you be using children’s car seats?
  • Will you be doing any towing?
  • How much garage or parking space do you have?

Step 2. Set Your Budget

Most of us will need to think about financing our purchase or lease. Ask yourself how much you can really afford to put toward a car payment each month. The general rule is that your monthly car payment should not exceed 15 percent of your monthly pay. A used car will be less expensive, but the same rule should apply. If you’re looking to lease, aim for a monthly payment that’s less than 10 percent of your monthly pay. You’ll also want to factor in an additional 7 percent of your monthly income to cover fuel and insurance costs.

Step 3. Decide If You Want to Lease or Buy

Leasing and buying each have pros and cons. For example, a lease usually requires little or no money down and offers lower monthly payments. When the lease ends, however, you have no car and will need to go shopping again. On the other hand, buying a car is more expensive initially and the monthly payments are higher. When you pay off the loan though, you will own a car that you can drive for as long as it runs. You can also sell the car to make some of your initial investment back.

Step 4. Consider Other Cars in the Class

Are you set on a specific car? In today’s fast-paced marketplace, new cars are always hitting the showrooms. One that you’ve never even considered could be right for you. If you already have a car in mind, you should still review other comparable vehicles in the same class to make sure you haven’t overlooked an even better choice.

Step 5. Weigh the Costs of Ownership

Some cars may be cheaper to buy but more expensive to own. Even if two cars have about the same price, one might depreciate faster or cost more to insure and maintain. Before you commit to a car, you should estimate its long-term ownership costs. These include depreciation, insurance, maintenance and fuel costs.

Step 6. Find Cars for Sale

The old method of car shopping had you visiting dealerships in person to see inventory and find out if the cars had the options you wanted. Today, using the internet to find the car you’re interested in allows you to quickly cover more ground and save money. Once you have an idea of the car you want, you can easily see its availability.

Step 7. Set Up a Test-Drive

Now that you’ve found a car that seems as if it might be a good fit for you, call, text or email the dealership’s internet department to schedule a day and time for a test-drive. Dealerships’ internet salespeople cater to informed buyers and tend to be more upfront with pricing. By making a test-drive appointment with your local dealerships, you ensure that the car will be waiting for you when you arrive. We recommend test-driving about three different vehicles so that you don’t limit your options.

Step 8. What to Look for in a Test-Drive

A car might seem to have all the features you want, but the true test takes place when you are in the driver’s seat. You should test-drive the car the way you would drive it during your everyday life. Drive over bumps, take tight corners, and test the brakes in a safe location. While you are evaluating the car, don’t be distracted. Take your time looking everything over.

Step 9. Pick Your Car

After test-driving several cars, the choice should be clear. If it isn’t, sleep on it. In the morning, you might have your answer. If not, you might need to take a few steps back and drive more cars. It’s better to take longer in the shopping phase than have buyer’s remorse later.

Step 10. Time to Buy or Lease

Now that you’ve done research that, we hope, makes you feel confident you’ve found the right car for you, it’s time to become a car buyer or lessee!

For more helpful advice or to learn more about our services, contact AUTO Collision at 801.568.0305 or visit us at 215 West 9210 South, Sandy, Utah 84070.

AUTO Collision is here in your time of need. No one wants to go through more hassle after an accident. Schedule an Appointment and we’ll help you through the repair process.

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