- Test Drive.
- Test Drive Again.
At some stage during our lives there comes a time to buy ourselves a car, whether it is a new car or a used car, and when it comes to that time the variety of choices available, can make picking the right car for you a very confusing proposition.
With so many different makes, models and styles on the market, there is a car out there for just about anyone. However cars are not a one size fits all venture, what I like, want and need probably won’t match your likes, needs and wants. Here is a list of 12 steps to buying the right car to assist you in finding your perfect fit.
When it comes to buying a car, we all have a different amount of money that we can afford to spend, whether that is $5,000, $50,000 or $150,000. It is important to know how much you can afford to spend before you start looking, otherwise you will waste your time looking for a vehicle that you can’t afford. Of course you can still dream about that supercar car though.
What purpose is your new car going to serve? What are the main reasons for using this car? If you are an 18 year old University student who is studying in the city, do you really need that large 7 seat family four wheel drive, that is too big to fit into the modern day car parks of the urban jungle? What if you are a Uber driver, wouldn’t you be better off avoiding the trusty old farm Ute and settle on something with more space and comfort? After all you don’t need to carry around any hay bales for your next Uber customer.
Be honest with yourself as to the main needs and uses of your new car to avoid frustrations and regrets later on.
Closely related to the previous point is how many seats you require. Are you single? Married? A family? Grandparents? How many people will regularly travel in your new car?
If you are a mother of 4, is a small 4 seat 2 door convertible the best choice for your needs and lifestyle? Can you really fit your 4 teenage sons in that convertible and then travel to the next town for their soccer match?
What if you are a single farmer with no kids? You may only need a 2 door Ute. The choice is yours, however the wrong choice may haunt you for years to come.
Size does matter, there I said it, size does matter. By now you know what your budget is, you know what the purpose of your new car is and you know how many seats you require in your car, now choose how big you want to go.
Say you are a family of 4. There are a plethora of cars on the market that can seat 4 or more people. However will that small 5 seat 2 door hatch really suit you and your 2 growing teenagers? You may be better off looking into the SUV range of vehicles instead.
Factor and take into account any possible changes to your situation and hopefully you will avoid having to buy a bigger more appropriate car in 6 months time.
Yes style is important. Just like that embarrassing mullet hairdo your Dad rocked in the 80’s, you know the type business at the front and party at the rear. If you think the car is ugly don’t buy it just because it is cheap, remember you will be seen in it. Seriously though, with such a large array of vehicle styles on the market choose the style that you like.
By now you will have dramatically narrowed your choices of prospective vehicles and at the same time you will have unknowingly created a category of cars that suit your wants and needs.
It is now time to start some research on your “category”. Venture on to the internet and do a search on all the vehicles in your catergory. Look for sites, posts and forums that either praise or criticise these vehicles to help you determine what, if any, issues that may surface. Also ask your local mechanic, not the biased voice of a car yard, if they have heard of any issues or had any good or bad dealings and you will reduce your chances of buying a lemon.
Reassess your budget, are you able to find your ideal group of vehicles within your budget. If not then you may need to either reassess and change your budget or change some priorities towards what extras you “really need”. Prehaps that Sat Nav system isn’t necessary after all.
From here on in the process starts to become a reality. Now armed with all the knowledge you have acquired it is time to create a “target list” of vehicles, from the category you have previously chosen.
Start with eliminating the cars you don’t like. Next on the list to go should be the vehicles that present as lemons, these cars will just become an endless money pit.
It is now, in the process, that you can start to focus on what manufacturers you prefer. Come up with a list of about 3 different makes and models. These vehicles will become your “target list”.
9. TEST DRIVE.
Here is where the fun begins. Go and test drive all the vehicles on your target list. If when test driving, the seats feel uncomfortable, the cars feels claustrophobic or something just doesn”t feel right, put it to the bottom of your list. Don’t remove it yet, just relegate that particular car to the bottom of your list for now.
10. TEST DRIVE AGAIN.
No you’re not going mad and neither am I. You need to test drive all the vehicles on your list again, not the exact same ones you have already driven though. Why you ask? Cars have personalities and traits. If after testing all your target list vehicles for a second, and even third, time and you end up with either the same, or similar, results as the original test drive then you can use those results to influence your final choice.
Vehicles within the exact same make and model can drive and feel completely different, so that poor result from the first drive may be an abnormality and vice versa. If this occurs use your gut instinct as to what to do, those internal feelings are generally right.
You have now gone from not being sure of which car to buy to having a short target list that you have proudly narrowed down. It is now time to make an informed decision and choose your favorite cars from your short target list.
You have done the hard work. You have done your research and made up your mind, now go and buy that car. It doesn’t matter if you are buying brand new or used, private or through a dealer. Don’t be afraid to haggle down the price as most of the time there is a bit of wiggle room on the price, all you have to do is ask. And lastly if the deal doesn’t suit or makes you feel uneasy walk away, don’t be bullied or pressured into a deal you don’t like, simply walk away and go elsewhere, after all you are the one with the money, you have the power.
If the dealer offers you an extended warranty, read the fine print carefully, as by simply having your car serviced somewhere other than where you brought it may lead to your warranty becoming void. You do have the power to say NO to any additional extras so if you don’t think you really, desperately need it, don’t buy it. By all means if it gives you comfort and piece of mind then buy the offered extra/s, the choice is yours, just don’t feel pressured into accepting the deal.
Whilst there is no guarantee that by following these, 12 steps to buying the right car, you will avoid buying a lemon, it will mean that the chances of that happening are greatly reduced and the choice you made will leave you with a feeling of happiness and satisfaction for years to come.