Going to a car dealership to buy a family car doesn’t have to be the field trip your family doesn’t want to take! A little preparation will go a long way toward making the visit pleasant rather than stressful.
How will your car be used? Is it going to be all-purpose for multiple drivers going to multiple places? Will it be used for work, adding lots of mileage, using lots of gas? Will it need to be hearty and rugged for camping or luxurious and sleek with a valet key for hotel stays? Will it be used for a carpool, with seats that appear and disappear?
How many regular passengers will there be? Comfort and safety for all passengers is important. A seat belt is needed for each person. Car seats and booster seats need to have proper space and attachment equipment. Air bag information and warnings should be considered when determining how many and which seats are best for children. Storage space should be large enough to accommodate the number of people using the car on a regular basis.
How safe is the car? Research and review safety ratings. Information is available in consumer magazines, on-line, and at the car dealership. This is one area above all others that you need the most up-to-date and accurate information.
How much is the car? Set a budget, and stick to it. Buying a car does not need to create a financial hardship. There are buyer-friendly ways to finance the car that you want to buy.
In addition to the actual cost of the car, there is the cost of insurance and maintenance. Insurance premiums vary from one make and model to another. Your insurance agent can give you rates for the car of your choice. Servicing your car adds an expense. There are many issues that are covered under warranty. But there are also out-of-pocket expenses, too. Know the reputation your car of choice has for unscheduled maintenance.
And then there are the extras… sun roofs, moon roofs, power this, and power that. Anything that is not considered “Standard” will cost more money. Here is where you can control part of the cost. Start with your “needs”, and then add the “wants”.
Is the car “green”? If being environmentally friendly is important to you, find out about the car’s fuel system and how it works. What’s good for the earth might be good for your wallet as well!
Knowing the answers to these questions before your trip to the showroom will make you a more confident buyer. It will also assist your salesperson in finding just the right vehicle for your family. Happy motoring!