What You Can and Can’t Compromise On When Car Shopping

Buying a vehicle is a big deal, mainly because it comes with a big price tag and it’s a purchase that you’ll have for at least a few years if not many more.  While you may think your decision is as simple as the make and model of the vehicle, there are several features and options to consider before signing on the dotted line.  Your own personal must-haves may not be as important as you think when it comes down to it.  Here’s some fabulous insight on what truly matters in a car and what doesn’t.

car shopping

Show me the money

The first order of business is your pocketbook.  What is your budget and what can you afford?  Remember that the price of the car is not the only cost involved.  You’ll need to add fees, licensing and taxes that occur at the time of the sale.  So, shop for vehiclesthat are at least 5% less than your monthly budget which will allow some room to cover your operating costs such as petrol (include fuel economy as a factor), car insurance, repairs and maintenance.

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Transparency is key

Unless you’re looking at new fleet, every car has a history of use.  You’ll want to know about accidents, flood damage or any other major catastrophes it has been involved in.  With a vehicle history report, you’ll get information on where the vehicle has been registered, the number of previous owners, how many km’s it’s done, which would indicate if the odometer has been illegally rolled back, along with recall alerts.

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Features with wiggle room

When it comes to the km’s on a car, some may say it doesn’t matter while others look entirely for a low-k vehicle.  There are pros and cons to the km/age equation.  The one way to tell how much a vehicle has been used is, in fact, by k’s.  While noting that, how a car got its k’s is certainly a key factor.  Short distance, in-town driving is a lot harder on a vehicle than highway runs.  There are parts and components that are designed to last only so long, and the number of k’s do make a difference in how much life is left.

Additional features that do matter but are up for negotiation with a seller include warranty and tyres.

Nice but not necessary

You found a great deal, love the way the vehicle handles, it fits your budget and has a clean history, so what’s the problem?  Maybe it’s that you wanted blue and not olive green.  Oh well.  Colour isn’t really a deal breaker.  Heated seats, a sunroof, bluetooth, leather seats and all-wheel drive are things that might be nice but aren’t going to significantly alter your life that you can’t live without them.  If your car comes equipped with them, great, but they’re not the end all be all.

Take the role as an educated consumer by weighing the pros and cons of all the alternatives.  First and foremost, make sure you can afford the vehicle and its associated costs.  Be aware of its full history, and test drive several times.  Take it out in different traffic and weather conditions to make sure it handles well for you.  Overall size and inside space configurations matter in your everyday life so be comfortable with your choice.  There are as many vehicle options and combinations as there are consumers so with proper investigation, selecting the right car can be completely manageable.

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