Buying a car is a significant decision. Not one that should ever be taken lightly or rushed into. Especially considering the cost of new and used vehicles hitting record levels, it’s worth taking the time to ask yourself a few questions to make sure that you’re prepared to make such a large investment.
We know that buying a car is not something you do every day, and we want to help ensure that our customers feel comfortable and confident in their new investment.
So we read through countless articles written by impartial third parties on this very topic and compiled a list of the Top Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Buy a Car.
1. Should I buy new or used? (via The Motley Fool)
This may be one of the most important questions to ask before you buy a vehicle, because deciding to buy used could help keep thousands of dollars in your bank account.
Considering that there’s a $15,000 difference between the average price of a new and used car, there’s little room for debate over what’s the better bargain. Not only are you spending more money on a new car, but the vehicle also loses 10% of its value the second it leaves the dealership, and an additional 10% after the first year, according to Carfax
. Also consider that buying used means you might be able to get some features in the vehicle (like leather seating, a touchscreen display, etc.) that would stretch your budget if you were buying a new car.
Sure, there are some benefits to buying your vehicle new. It’ll likely have fewer miles and you get the full warranty (not to mention that new-car smell). For people who have very long commutes or drive a lot for their work, it might make sense to get a new vehicle. But remember that you can still get the manufacturer’s warranty on some cars, even if you aren’t the original owner.
Additionally, vehicles last longer than ever (the average age of a car currently on the road is about 11 years), so grabbing one for several thousand dollars less with just a few thousand miles is more than worth it. Sure, you’ll lose out on the new-car smell, but that fades after a few months anyway.
If you have a family of five, you’ll want the vehicles you’re looking at to have at least six seats (you’ll appreciate the extra room), or ideally seating for seven or eight. If you need to tow a travel trailer on the weekend, make sure you’re looking at something with a tow rating and payload that can handle your people, your gear, and your trailer.
Ask what changes your life or family are likely to see during your ownership. We won’t tell you to avoid the two-seat sports car because you might meet someone next year and have a new child in three years, but there are definitely some changes to keep in mind. Like if your pre-teen just barely fits in the third-row seat of that SUV today, that growth spurt in a year or two isn’t going to help them fit better.
Many people fall in love with big SUVs and sportscars that seem to be within their budget, but when they discover that they need to fill it up with gasoline every other day, their budget implodes. If you already budget a certain amount for gasoline each month, buying a car that gets worse gas mileage will increase that allotment. On the other hand, buying an economical car will likely increase that allotment.
4. What Do You LIKE About Your Current Car? (via Auto Cheat Sheet)
This is a great question to ask yourself. You’ve been driving your current car for a while now. What are the things you really like about it? What made you buy the car in the first place? The way it handles, the safety features, the gas mileage, the way you look in it, etc…? Write them down and keep them for when shopping for your new car.
5. What Do You DISLIKE About Your Current Vehicle? (via Auto Cheat Sheet)
Buying a new car gives you a chance to get away from the things you dislike about your current car. Think about the things you dislike about it. Too big, too small, lack of power, no sunroof, maintenance repair costs, blind spots, hard to park, the way you look in it, etc? Write these down also so you can remember what you don’t want when buying a new car.