5 Factors to Consider When Buying a Car

Buying a car

Buying a car can be an exciting process. However, the excitement can blind a person to the point where they can’t see the difference between a deal and a dud. The following are five factors you need to keep in mind when buying a car.

1. Considering Lifestyle

Your lifestyle should play a factor when buying a new car. For example, if you’re someone who drives through various types of terrain for work or just for fun, you need a vehicle that can handle it. If you have a large family, then a small car won’t serve you too well. The trunk of your vehicle has to be large enough to accommodate your needs. In essence, you want the vehicle you’re thinking of purchasing to solve as many issues in your life as possible. This is how you know you’ve made a good choice.

2. Thinking About Finances

It’s essential to think about your finances when making this purchase. A new car shouldn’t cause you a headache, and that could happen if you don’t budget right. A vehicle that’s too expensive will stretch you too thin and make it challenging to pay the installments. The good thing is if you’re looking for auto loans in Fresno and other major cities, a company will loan you what you can comfortably afford. They’ll do this by looking at your credit report and assessing your cash flow.

3. Out for a Spin

The test drive is usually overlooked. Of course, everyone takes the car out for a spin, but it’s usually done to drive the car or for fun. You need to take the test drive more seriously and avoid letting the salesperson control the ride. Don’t get suckered in by the gadgets, the satellite radio, or any of those little things. These are factors the auto dealership will dangle in front of your eyes. Yes, they might be nice, but you want to pay attention to how the vehicle handles curves and turns. Try to look around the vehicle. Are there blind spots your old vehicle didn’t have?

4. Look at the Reputation

You should be sure to pay attention to the vehicle’s brand reputation. It may not seem like much, but the reality is each brand has its weaknesses and strengths. If you care about safety, then look for a brand that consistently scores high with safety ratings. Those who care about convenience may want to look for perks like keyless entry and other little things like that. You should also find out if the vehicle’s brand makes cars that are hard to repair or not. Some brands build their vehicles with easily replaceable parts.

5. Incorporating the Weather

The weather is another thing you have to keep in mind when purchasing a vehicle. If you live in a seasonal climate or like to drive through areas that get too cold, then be sure your vehicle can handle it. For example, you might want to have heated seats and a heated steering wheel for your comfort. You might want to consider a few cooling features like ventilated seats for hot areas like Southern California. You might also want to have dual-zone automatic climate control, which gives you a chance to control the temperatures for each passenger.

Try to incorporate these factors as you start the car purchasing process. The more you address, the better your choice will be, and you’ll probably be happier, too.

Your Personal Checklist: 10 Things to Keep in Mind When Buying a New Car

When buying a new car, it’s easy to let yourself be entrapped in the dream of cruising down the beach street while the sun sets down. You can almost see it turning into reality with the keys in your hand and the sales clerk telling you how much your life is going to change for the better. However, if you don’t want to regret your decision later on, you should never purchase a new car on impulse. Instead, it’s best to the following 10 principles:

1. Give it a spin first

Going for a test drive will give you a better feel for how well the car really sits with you. Maybe you like its looks, but after driving it for a couple of blocks, you might find that it’s not really that comfortable or just doesn’t feel right. Most, if not all car dealerships, will let you do this without raising an objection.

If you’re planning on buying a used car, testing it out becomes that much more important, as you want to make sure there are no rattles, scratches, funny noises or anything out of the ordinary. Obviously, this is not going to be a concern when buying new, but to put your mind at ease, be sure to check how long the insurance you’re getting with it covers you.

2. Compare prices online

According to www.car-buying-strategies.com, comparing prices online is one of the most important things you should be doing. You’d be surprised how often the same model can be found at a more affordable pricing somewhere else. Oftentimes, you’ll see online price comparison tools, which is what you should be looking for; these have been designed to make your search as simple and time-efficient as possible.

If you’re just scouting the marketplace, these types of engines also make it incredibly easy to search for a specific brand, model, year of production, etc. Furthermore, many sellers are willing to match the prices if you can show them that another dealership is offering the same car for way cheaper. Therefore, knowing the cheapest prices will give you a good leverage when negotiating.

3. Discuss the purchase with your insurance agent

Before making the purchase, you should probably discuss it with your insurance agent first. The reason being is that no two cars are the same and the costs are different when it comes to insuring each individual one. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you’ve already purchased one, only to find out it costs much more to insure than others.

While you’re there, you can learn many useful things such as knowing the options which car insurance types are available to you, as well as vehicle service contracts. Don’t forget to make some price comparisons here as well; only that way will you be able to secure the best insurance deal possible.

4. Don’t get pressured into buying what you don’t need

In order to make more money, the dealerships will often try to sell you expensive add-ons you don’t really need. Despite being valuable in their own merit, you shouldn’t just take everything bundled with your purchase. Instead, evaluating everything they offer you separately is the right way to go about it.

Ask yourself this: do you really need paint protection or key insurance? Even if the answer is affirmative, you might not be offered the best deal out there. In case you feel the salesman is trying to pressure you into it, you should be varied – this is often a red flag. Some of them try to hide the real cost of the product behind monthly payments; don’t get suckered into it. Bring a calculator and determine how much it’s going to cost you in a year or so.

5. Decide on the type of transmission

What do you prefer – automatic or manual? If you’re unfamiliar with how to drive a car with the latter, now might not be the best time to make the switch (unless you’re willing to go the extra mile to learn the ropes). Those who find themselves driving their car often might prefer the automatic transmission, since it’s much less of a hassle to operate. In fact, those who used to drive cars with manual transmission and upgraded to the automatic ones, later on, are seldom willing to go back due to getting used to the extra comfort.

There is a drawback, however; cars with automatic transmission are known to consume more fuel, so if you’re traversing longer distances often, they might not be the best choice. If you tend to get stuck in traffic often, on the other hand, they can be a true life-saver. So always make the choice based on your preferences, level of experience, and the intended usage of your car.

6. Petrol or diesel?

There are notable differences between these two main types of cars. While covering every single detail is beyond the scope of this article, knowing the main differences between them could potentially be the single most important thing you’re going to learn today.

For starters, diesel cars are a more cost-effective solution if you’re traversing long distances. If you’re driving for less than 50 kilometers a day, however, the opposite may be the case, especially since diesel cars are more expensive to maintain in comparison. Also, try to keep in mind that most people find petrol cars easier and more comfortable to drive; their diesel counterparts feel a bit stiffer in comparison. Finally, diesel cars produce more toxic emissions, which is detrimental to the environment.

7. Safety is a consideration

In case you live in a dangerous area with a ton of reckless drivers, it’s of utmost importance that your car is fitted with the latest safety technology. This is also true if you often find yourself driving on highways where the speed meter can reach mind-numbing heights. Having a good safety system installed can be the difference between you surviving a potential accident or not.

Make sure that the car you’re eying has a good safety bag. If you want to take additional steps to guarantee your safety, make sure that the car has rear set airbags installed as well. Modern safety systems like ABS are also a must; luckily, the cars that you can find nowadays pretty much have it installed by default.

8. Don’t succumb to the sales consultant’s pressure

Yes, buying a new car is an experience packed full of emotions and excitement. We get it. Allowing yourself to be emotional for a bit is fine, as long as you don’t compromise your best judgment in the process. So if you’re feeling pressured by the sales consultant, take a step back and re-evaluate the situation, because chances are they’re trying to do what’s best for the interest of the company they’re working for and not yours.

Don’t be too kind and submissive, but there’s no need to be rude either. Simply walk a fine line between being kind and assertive. A smile will get you quite far. Do know, however, that you always have the option to walk away if you believe you’ve been offered a bad deal. Not being confident enough to do so is the only way you can be defeated (but this can be prevented as long as you keep your senses focused).

9. How strong does the engine need to be?

Don’t believe that picking a car with a smaller engine will lead to money savings. This is a myth! Yes, a smaller engine will consume a smaller amount of fuel… in theory that is. The fact of the matter is that in order to make them withstand the workload that’s being thrown at them, they need to be heated more, which leads to not-so-economic fuel economy.

Higher displacement engines mostly remain idle, which sort of averages out the fuel economy. In order to get them performing their best, there is no need to put excess pressure on them. So what’s the takeaway? Without making it too complicated, you should always pick the engine based on what you’re going to be using the car for and what type of environment you’ll most often encounter.

10. Check the resale value

Generally speaking, new cars are not that great of an investment, since their value quickly goes down after the initial purchase. However, cars produced by certain manufacturers have higher resale value than others. In the end, you need to be the judge – do you quickly get tired of your vehicle and feel the need for some fresh air? Then this might be more relevant to you than the other drivers.

In general, bear in mind that European cars are not the best when it comes to preserving value. Japanese cars, on the other hand, are the complete opposite. Those who cannot bear the notion of seeing their cars lose so much value in so little time should consider buying a used car instead.

Conclusion

While this is by no means the end of the story, these 10 guidelines should be more than enough to cover the most important things you need to know when buying a new car. And when you finally do, you’ll be able to treat yourself to a good night’s sleep, knowing that you’ve made a choice that you won’t regret anytime soon.

How to Keep Your Old Car Running Strong

Over 17 million cars are sold in the United States on a yearly basis.

While buying a new car is a dream for most, this purchase is usually unwarranted. New cars depreciate in value as soon as they are driving off of the lot. A great way to avoid this depreciation is to fix a car instead of buying new and throwing money down the drain.

Are you trying to keep your old car running strong? Check out the following tips on how to keep your existing vehicle reliable.

Oil is the Lifeblood of Your Car’s Engine

The biggest mistake you can make when trying to keep a car running smoothly is neglecting to change the oil regularly. The longer you wait to change your oil, the more gunk your engine will inevitably be exposed to.

If the oil in your engine is low, the internal parts will not get the lubrication they need. This will generally lead to a variety of repair issues arising. Allowing professionals to change your oil regularly can help you avoid mistakes that could cost you dearly in the long run.

Service the Car’s Coolant System

If you are like most car owners, your coolant system is not something you regularly think about. As the components of this system ages, you may start to experience overheating issues. If a car is allowed to consistently overheat, it can lead to blow head gaskets and other costly repairs.

Hiring professionals to flush the cooling system is a good idea. This flushing will help to get rid of sediment in the rows of the radiator. With this sediment gone, coolant will be allowed to flow freely and keep the engine cool.

Listen Out For Brake Repair Problems

Having functional brakes is an essential part of staying safe while behind the wheel. Braking components will eventually wear out and will have to be replaced. Generally, you will have a number of warning signs when these repairs need to be performed.

If you start to hear a screeching sound while you are bringing your vehicle to a stop, chances are your brake pads are worn. Ignoring this warning sign will only make these repair problems worse. Taking your vehicle into a reputable mechanic is the only way to ensure new braking components are installed properly.

Don’t Ignore the Check Engine Light

Modern cars are equipped with very sophisticated computer systems. The ECM on a vehicle will detect when there is a problem with a sensor. When these issues are detected, the check engine light inside of your vehicle will be illuminated.

Failing to act when given this warning can lead to you getting stranded on the side of the road. With a trip to a trusted mechanic, you can find out what problems your vehicle has and what needs to be done to address them properly.

The money you invest in professional car repair and maintenance is well worth it. With the right level of care, your vehicle can last for a long time. Attempting to do your own car repairs is a disaster waiting to happen, which is why it should be avoided at all cost.

 

There are Many Costs and Expenses of Car Ownership

The Cost of Car Ownership

For many people, especially in the south, owning a car is not a choice. It is essential to being able to get around and do what you need to do. However, owning a car is a major expense. While you may not think about it, there are many things that go into owning a vehicle. This includes the upfront costs to buy the vehicle, fuel, maintenance, taxes, fees and interest. These costs can vary greatly across the south.

Variances in Costs

To begin with, tax rates vary from location to location. When you buy a vehicle, you have to pay tax on your purchase. This can raise the overall cost of your vehicle by thousands of dollars, making your upfront cost quite high if you live in a state with a high tax rate.

Other costs that can vary greatly from location to location are those for registering your vehicle and getting the title. Generally, these are paid in the county in which you live. Some counties may charge more for the services than others. It may also depend on which city you live in. These costs can be quite low, like under $20, or they can be on the more expensive side.

A major area where costs vary from location to location is fuel. Everyone knows gas prices go up and down. One city may have low prices, while another is much higher. Then there is the variance between gasoline and diesel fuel. If you own a diesel vehicle, expect to pay more.

Your location may also impact the costs for maintenance and repairs. Some areas may have higher rates than others due to things like demand and competition. If you own a vehicle, though, you will need to get maintenance done at some point, so this must be kept in mind.

The last cost that can affect your cost of owning a car is insurance. Insurance isn’t as dependent on location, although location will affect your prices. It is more reliant upon your personal details, such as your driving record, credit rating, age, type of vehicle and number of drivers. You have some options when it comes to local insurance to help make this more affordable. However, some areas just naturally have higher rates than others, so it is something to think about.

Costs by State

There is not one southern state where owning a car is super cheap. There are always tradeoffs when it comes to costs. For example, North Carolina has some of the lowest prices for gas, insurance and registration, but the state has high repair costs. The same is true of Virginia. On the other side of things, there is Georgia where gas is still rather cheap, but you will pay out quite a bit for repairs and insurance.

Then there is West Virginia, which has low registration fees, but everything else is rather costly, like gas and insurance. Compare this with Mississippi, a state that is lower than average on every car related cost. Mississippi may be the ideal southern state for car ownership.

When it comes to owning a car in the south, you have a lot of costs to consider. Depending on where you live, you may need to shop more smartly for a car to get a better deal or you may need to be careful about getting an insurance policy so you aren’t paying too much.

How to Navigate Past Expensive Car Loans

For many commuters a vehicle is essential to get them to and from work. People with larger families may also need a vehicle to get the family places. Public transit often isn’t an option in small cities or towns. A large percentage of the population relies on a vehicle. But despite the best maintenance on a car, they still breakdown and need to be replaced. Often many people simply do not have the cash to buy a new car, yet they are hesitant to buy a used car more than a few years old. A car loan is how they’ll be able to obtain the best vehicle to suit their needs.  Selling your old car at online companies like We Buy Cars is a great way to get the down payment for a new one.

Obtaining a car loan can be a lot like obtaining the best mortgage. It’s going to take time and research to shop around.

There are many sources for car loans, so before you sign on the dotted line, scope them out first. Your first option is going to be directly from the car dealer. You’ll find that they may offer the best financing, after all, they want you to buy their car.

Your second option for a car loan is from your bank. If your credit report is outstanding, you may qualify for a low interest loan. You may also be able to obtain a second mortgage and get it tacked onto a once-a-month lump sum payment.

The third option is to get it from a company that specifically provides loans to individuals. If you go this route, check the interest rate and loan terms carefully. Often these companies are created for people who don’t normally qualify for an auto loan. This means that the interest rates will be exceptionally high.

If you’re considering the purchase of a new car, and you know that you’ll need to obtain a car loan, it can be of benefit to pull your credit report. There are many agencies that provide this service. This will allow you to learn your credit rating, and whether you need to fix any errors. It can be of benefit to you, as a higher credit rating means that you’ll be able to obtain the best interest rate possible.

If you’re a woman, you may also wish to be extra aware before obtaining a car loan. Many people will assume you have not done your research, and may try to take advantage of that. They’re out to make money after all. Sadly it’s still something that you need to be aware of before you begin your negotiations. It’s important to brush up on car and loan terminology. If you don’t understand something in a contract, be sure to ask.

You may also ask for what you want. Is it possible that they can drop the interest rate a half a percentage point? It can certainly help you out over time, but be of little risk to the lender.

By the time you’re ready to sign on the dotted line you’ll have found the best interest rate for your car loan. Soon you’ll be driving home in your new car!

Why buy a transmission when you can buy a new car?

I was creepin’ on Facebook the other day, when I saw a sparkly new car show up in one of my friends’ posts. After clicking around, I discovered my friend purchased a brand spankin’ new Jeep Cherokee.

I thought it was a little odd that she purchased a new car being that the last time I spoke with her she told me she was looking to quit her part time job at a local photography studio.

I can’t imagine a part-time photography assistant makes mad scrilla, but perhaps I’m wrong?

On Friday night, I attended a fundraiser for a youth group I am part of, YoungLife. While at the banquet, in walked Ms. Jeep Cherokee. We started chatting and I mentioned I noticed she had got a new car.

I asked her a little about the circumstances leading up to the purchase.

Because I’m nosy.

She told me that her former car’s transmission went out and it was going to cost $2,000 dollars to fix. With excitement, she further explained that her former car was only worth $900 dollars so it made no financial sense to fix it.

And that’s when she said, “So I went and bought the Jeep.”

It took every ounce of self-control to not do something like this…

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I wanted, so badly, to know everything about her situation.

…I wanted to know how much the car cost.

…How much she put down.

…And what the heck she was thinking.

 

Instead, I smiled politely and said something like “Well that’s exciting.”

 

Since when did a $2,000 expense become a justification for a $20,000 loan?

I couldn’t imagine she put more than 10% down, which means she is not only the proud new owner of a Jeep Cherokee, but also a couple hundred dollar per month car payment.

I think what upsets me the most is that she is completely oblivious to the gravity of taking on such a big loan. I desperately want to sit down with her and ask why she thinks $20,000 is better than $2,000. Or at the very least, why she didn’t buy a $5,000 used car?

I know most of us PFers have encountered similar situations. You know, where someone says something that makes the PF nerd inside of you want to curl up in the fetal position and start sucking your thumb.

 What did you do?

Do you smile and politely pretend like your excited for them? Do you slap them across the face and tell them their dumb? Where is the line between expressing legitimate concern and sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong?

Moral of the story: depreciating assets suck.

We decided to give being a one car family a shot

Cars are freaking expensive. Even though both of our cars were fully paid off (’07 Scion tC and ’06 Honda Pilot) they still ate up a considerable amount of our discretionary income. Gas ($300/mo), insurance ($120/mo), and maintenance (call it $600+/year)  aren’t cheap.

So even though our cars were paid off, they were still costing us about $500 a month.

That’s insane and I think I would have projectile vomited all over the place had we had another $400+/mo in car payments to add to that.

Now that Baby Ninja is a thing, we realized my Scion tC had become nothing more than a glorified driveway ornament. I loved my Scion dearly, but the car only had two doors, and let me tell you a little secret; coupes and car seats don’t mesh. 

I sat down with Girl Ninja and pitched the idea of selling the Scion and trying out the one car household thing.

She was down. 

I put my car up on Craigslist and within a few weeks I fetched $9,500 for it, which was right at its Blue Book value.

Now I should remind you that I have a company car so while I’m out working, Girl Ninja still has our Pilot. That said, I’m not allowed to use my work car for anything other than official business. No quick stops at the grocery store, no driving with passengers, nothing.

So maybe we are more like a 1.5 car household?

It’s been about 6 weeks now, and so far we haven’t once thought to ourselves “Man, it sure would be nice to have two cars.” 

Perhaps this will change as time wears on, but for now we’re enjoying the almost $10,000 boost to our savings account and reduced monthly vehicle expenses. I’m sure eventually we will end up buying a second car, one with four doors of course, but so far this one car household adventure has been pretty fun.

How many drivers are in your household? How many cars do you have?