If you’re in the market to add a new vehicle to your family, chances are you’ve done a lot of research. You’ve looked at makes and models, compared specs, and run the numbers on all of your top picks. But, before you make the final leap and sign on the dotted line, there are a few things you should consider about your new car.
Although a bright red convertible or a matte black muscle car may appeal to your sense of style, don’t get too caught up in the looks or the horsepower of your potential vehicle. Keep in mind that reliability is also incredibly important, and that the reliability of a vehicle can make or break its value. To begin with, check on the reliability of the manufacturer in general, and look into any pending lawsuits or common consumer complaints. Then, hone in on the specific model you’re looking at. Also remember that the year of manufacture can sometimes make a large difference in a vehicle’s reliability, so try to read reviews of models produced in the years surrounding and including your potential vehicle’s manufacture date.
One way to check reliability, in addition to consumer reviews, is to see what percent of a manufacturer’s vehicles remain on the road in the years after they are produced. The higher this percentage, the more reliable that manufacturer’s vehicles are.
Consider buying used
If you’ve only considered brand new cars up to this point, at least take a moment to think about buying a vehicle secondhand. When you buy used, you can save a large amount of money, which will either allow you to reinvest more money elsewhere, or it will allow you to buy a more valuable car. Buying used doesn’t have to mean buying old. You can look for used cars with only a few thousand miles on them, or that are only a few years old.
Buying used also allows you to more thoroughly research a specific model’s reliability, as there will have been several years since its manufacture for other customers to review. This can give you peace of mind, which is especially important when you are investing a large amount of money in a vehicle.
After you’ve researched used cars, you can also speak with a reputable dealer of preowned cars, which is usually as simple as searching online. For instance, you may search by your location and the desired manufacturer, such as “used Dodge in Knoxville,” and you can sort through the results based on customer reviews and variety of selection.
Think carefully about extra features
Even the best budgeters can find themselves well past their target price when they begin adding on extra features to their new vehicle. To keep yourself from falling into this trap, think about what features you’d like before you arrive at the dealer. Be honest with yourself about which features you’d use and which would go untouched, and make a physical list of these ahead of time. That way, you have something tangible to reference when the dealer asks if you’d like to upgrade your stereo system.
Most of all, follow your gut on your car purchase. If something strikes you as odd or not quite right, take some time to figure out why. Despite the excitement of purchasing a new vehicle, take your time and you won’t regret it in the future.