New car buying guide – Part 1
By Derek Price
Consider Maintenance Costs
One of the most attractive benefits to buying a new car is the peace of mind from a manufacturer warranty. Keep in mind that a bumper-to-bumper guarantee doesn’t include all repairs. Make sure you ask a salesman what is covered and plan to pay fees for components that aren’t.
When planning to invest in a brand-new car, make sure your budget has room for more expensive maintenance and repairs.
Do you remember when changing a headlight bulb could be performed quickly and inexpensively? That may not be the case for your brand-new vehicle.
The experts at Car and Driver say about 80 percent of the automotive market is using an upgraded bulb to light the way for drivers. High-intensity discharge bulbs rely on a system of components to perform properly, unlike old-fashioned halogen bulbs which only needed a filament and a solid connection from the socket.
The improved lighting in many new vehicles requires a ballast to bump up voltage to create enough electricity to arc between two electrodes inside the bulb. The result is a brighter light created with less energy, which keeps these lights burning longer than their predecessor.
According to the National Automotive Parts Association, HID bulbs will typically withstand 2,000 hours compared to 200-400 hours with a halogen bulb.
But these bulbs are considerably more expensive than their older halogen counterparts.
Synthetic Oil Changes
Many newer engines require lubrication from synthetic motor oils because of their better performance and efficiency. In some cases, these are double the price of conventional oil, and finding the specifications required by manufacturers can be difficult. With a brand new car, you should plan for service at a qualified mechanic or dealership, as using the wrong oil can void your warranty and damage the engine. The good news is that newer cars need oil changes less frequently than older cars.
When you sit in the driver’s seat of a potential vehicle, it’s easy to be blown away by all the bells and whistles. Each one of these components likely relies on a sensor to perform.
You can eliminate the potential expense of repair by choosing a car with more basic features.
Doing Your Research
You should have a few different vehicles in mind when shopping for a new car. Creating a checklist with must-have features is a good way to keep track of the options you’re looking for.
It may surprise you how similar vehicles like trucks, SUVs and sedans are between
manufacturers. You can get a good idea of the different offerings by searching through used-car lots at your favorite dealership. Once you find a style that interests you, inspect new models.
While the cosmetics may look nearly the same, they can differ in innovative safety features, trim options and warranties. Consider these tips from auto giants, Edmunds, when researching your next big purchase.
Search Used Models First
You can learn a lot about a new model by researching ratings and reviews of an older generation. Take a look through the last few year versions of vehicles that you’re interested in to see what actual owners have to say about their performance, safety and features.
Pay attention to the duration of a manufacturer warranty and investigate what types of issues people experience after the commitment is met. If you notice expensive repairs being required on fairly new cars, you can save some headache by choosing a more reliable option.
Visit the Lot After Hours
A stress-free way to gain a first-hand look at a vehicle is going after a dealership has closed. Here, you can sneak a peek through the windshield and ensure the real thing is as attractive as the pictures you saw online.
Make a Second Visit During the Week
The weekends are traditionally the busiest time for dealerships. By making a trip throughout the week, you should have more one-on-one time with a representative to have all your questions answered. Take your time with the test drive too. Try and travel down roadways similar to the ones you use frequently to get a good idea how it will perform during your daily journeys.
An Empty Nester’s Guide
So, you’ve successfully raised your children into responsible adults who are off to college or in the workforce. What better way to reward yourself than with the purchase of a brand-new car? Before you go off and buy the flashiest sports car on the lot, consider how you want to spend your newfound financial and personal freedom.
Here are a few things to consider before making a rash decision on a vehicle that may cause you buyer’s regret down the road.
Travel and Hobbies
Once you find yourself without your children at home, you might seek new hobbies and adventures. Make sure your new vehicle provides plenty of room to pack your gear for extended vacations or equipment if you pick up hiking or biking.
You may even be considering hauling a boat trailer or recreational vehicle to see the world in a new exciting way. In this case, you should look at pickup trucks or larger SUVs with suitable towing capacities.
Consider the Grandkids
You may be tempted to bring the compact sports car home, but if it will be your only vehicle, ask yourself if it is practical to haul your grandchildren in. Most two-door vehicles present challenges when attempting to install a car seat safely and ensure the kids are buckled in.
To get a good perspective of a new model’s support for a little one, review safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Plan for Aging
If you are experiencing mobility issues, you should choose a vehicle which accommodates you.
For instance, a cabin that is too high or low to enter comfortably can irritate an ailment and possibly make it more serious over time.
Especially if you are planning to keep the vehicle for many years, save yourself the hassle of investing in something that won’t suit you with age.