In this day and age most families could not fathom doing without the convenience of an automobile, which makes the buying process an important one. When attempting to choose the right car for your family, it’s important to consider a variety of factors that will help to make sure your ride is a smooth one.
First and foremost, you will need to ensure that your family’s automobile is a safe one. As a consumer, you can check the results of government crash test and/or safety ratings online or by asking your local dealership for further information. If purchasing an SUV, for instance, it may be especially important for you to consider the rollover capability. If you are like most, you will also find it beneficial to learn how the automobile held up in crash test ratings.
If you have children, interior space is likely to be a priority on your list of auto amenities. Whether it’s storage space for toting sports equipment, musical instruments for band practice or just a little extra room for a special trip to the toy store, it’s a good idea to consider comfort in terms of available space, movability and leg room.
Whether you are purchasing a new or used automobile, a warranty is an important consideration. New vehicles typically come with a manufacturer’s warranty, while previously owned automobiles may have a portion of the manufacturer’s warranty remaining or possibly even one that is offered directly from the dealership. If the original manufacturer’s warranty has expired, there may be an option of purchasing an extended warranty from the manufacturer upon request. This is typically only available on newer model vehicles, but it is a consideration for those investing in a previously-owned ride.
If you purchase a used automobile, it’s advisable to ask the seller for the VIN number and/or Carfax report. If the dealership or private owner doesn’t have a Carfax report, you can obtain one yourself using the VIN number. This information is helpful in determining the vehicle’s actual mileage, accident record, service or repair history and more. Additionally, a Carfax report can let you know whether or not the automobile has ever been involved in a recall and/or reported as stolen, both of which are important to know when choosing a vehicle for your family.
For new cars it is possible to request to see the invoice for the car, which will tell you how much the dealership had to pay for the vehicle at their wholesale cost. Many car dealers will bargain to a price within a thousand dollars or so of this invoice price if you negotiate with them. This of course doesn’t apply to some companies like Saturn, which does business at sticker-price only.
Be aware that any “factory rebates” are technically reimbursements from the manufacturer, not the dealer. As such, it isn’t entirely uncommon to be able to purchase a car for BELOW the invoice price if there are a lot of factory incentives available for the model car you are purchasing and the dealer is being particularly flexible on pricing.
Last but not least, the cost of operation for an automobile is a significant consideration when choosing the right vehicle for your family. Gas mileage and the cost of auto insurance are both important in terms of affordability. In general, an SUV uses more gasoline and will carry a higher cost of auto insurance. The age of an automobile also plays a role in the cost of auto insurance, which is typically more expensive on new vehicles than on earlier models.