To buy a car is a tricky process. First of all, it's not so easy to choose between a new and used car
- for some. For others, buying a new car
is the only option - less headache. Others claim that buying used cars is a much wiser decision. And you can't blame them, for generally speaking, a new car loses as much as 20% of its value after one year. Buying new car or used car all boils down to a person's comfort level. Or the size of his wallet.
But to buy a car entails more decision-making than whether it would be a new or used car. Buying a car is one of the most important and costly purchases one may make. We have to consider a few things and doing some research is a must. You need to ask yourself what car you need, wantor can afford.
Do you need a family vehicle for a family of five? Then a van is something that you need for a more comfortable ride for the kids. Your kids will really love the comfortable space that a roomy van provides. Or you need a car for a long commute. Then with the price of gas continually going up, a gas-saving compact will be ideal.
You need to check on a few models, choose which one provides the most gas saving. Only you can know what car you need.
Would you like to buy a car that you had always wanted to own. Is it a sports car? Or a muscle car ? Again, you need to think it over? You're single and can afford the monthly payment for a sports sedan. Fine. But you have been driving for only a year. You are pretty sure that the insurance companies will charge you a sizable premium.
You just started a family and your wife has to stay at home to take care of the young ones. You know pretty much that you need to stretch your budget and so you need to shop for a car that you can afford. Maybe a used car will do for now. According to the National Automobile Dealers Association, the average price of a new car sold in the United States is $28,400. That's a lot of dough.
Once you decide on the type of car you need, it is time to do your research to narrow down the choices. A number of publications and other resources can provide comparison information rating the vehicles within specific categories. You can also find up-to-date car buying guide at your local library. Or you can ask a few friends what they like and dislike about their cars so that the information that you need to buy a car comes from people that you know.
Make car comparisons
in areas such as safety, reliability, fuel economy, warranties, operating costs, theft rates, general features, and options when making your decision. To buy a car, you must examine all those factors.
Consider the safety features offered in a car. More and more automakers are offering air bags on the front passenger's side, in addition to the driver's side. Air bags automatically inflate on impact to provide a cushion and it's a factor to consider if you want to buy a car.
Other optional safety features include built-in child safety seats, anti-lock brakes, and traction control. Anti-lock brakes keep the wheels from locking up and skidding out of control when the driver slams on the brakes suddenly, or hits a slick spot in the road. Also, consider whether the car has good outward visibility, and whether or not the gauges on the instrument panel are easy to read.
The U.S. Department of Transportation runs a crash test program, comparing how well each vehicle protects the driver and front-seat passenger in a frontal crash, at a speed of 35 mph. The results of these tests can be used to compare cars within weight classes. Very useful in helping you buy a car that gives a certain peace of mind.
You can find out about a car's accident history using data collected by the Highway Loss Data Institute in Arlington, Virginia. The ratings are based on the frequency of medical claims filed for specific car models and makes. It gives the latest Top Safety Pick award winners.
The statistics are very helpful in making choices to buy a car that you feel is safe to drive.
A number of sources compare maintenance costs on vehicles and have compiled information about repairs that are likely with particular models. Information is also available on the number of complaints filed about particular cars.
Remember that if you buy a "lemon" that needs constant repairs, you may be protected by "lemon laws" in your state. The car manufacturer may be required to refund your money or repair the vehicle. Maintain a file of every repair order, receipt, and letter of complaint.
California's automobile lemon law is best known for its new-car protection but there are parts that apply to used autos. For example, a new vehicle returned to a dealer because it is a lemon can be sold as a used vehicle. But the buyer must be given a written notice that it's a "lemon law buyback." The notice has to list the vehicle's problems and work done on it. And the dealer must provide a one-year warranty against these problems.
Mandated by federal law, fuel economy has improved over the years. The average fuel economy is now more than 28 miles per gallon. Federal law requires an Environmental Protection Agency label to be placed on the window of every new car, listing average fuel economy for city and highway driving according to EPA tests.
The ratings are intended to be a comparison between models. Depending on how and where you drive, your actual mileage may not match the estimates.
Compare each car's warranty coverage, which may vary widely among car manufacturers. Consider the length of the warranty, mileage limits, and deductibles. Some cars have basic warranties which cover the entire vehicle, while others have limited warranties.
If you are buying used cars
that are still under the manufacturer's original warranty, you're covered by the lemon law, just as if they were new vehicles. At least until the original warranty runs out. Under the lemon law, if a dealer can't fix a warranty-covered problem, the manufacturer has to exchange or buy back the vehicle.
A number of publications offer estimates on what it costs to operate a car in a year's time. These costs vary greatly from one model to another, with luxury cars costing more than economy cars. The factors included in operating costs are fuel, oil, maintenance, and tires. Other costs associated with ownership, which also vary greatly, are insurance, depreciation, taxes, and licensing. These figures will help you buy a car that can fit with your budget.
Anyone is susceptible to car theft, but certain cars are more popular with thieves. The primary
reason for considering the theft factor is the higher cost of your insurance.
The Highway Loss Data Institute compiles data on car thefts, which can be useful in making a decision about buying a car. Insurance is higher for those cars with higher risks of being stolen. It depends upon the buyer but to buy a car with a high probability of getting stolen is a risk that some people wouldn't take.
Consider your particular needs when analyzing different vehicles. For instance, if you need a lot of trunk space for hauling groceries, baseball equipment, or boxes of supplies for your office, choose models with larger trunks.
Will others be riding in your back seat? You may want to choose a four-door model over a two-door one. What size engine do you need? Smaller engines may give better fuel economy, but larger engines may give better performance.
When looking at different types and models of cars, consider the standard features. All the cars of a particular make and model come with a standard package of features. Optional features usually add costs to the car. Some models have more standard features than others. For instance, some models include anti-lock brakes as a standard feature; in others, they may be optional or may not be available at all. These are indeed very useful info to buy a car that fit with your lifestyle.
Again, two websites which can help you buy a car that offer the best advice about general features in cars are: Yahoo! Autos
Numerous options are available for cars, in any number of different packages, or they can be ordered separately. One option may be so important to you that it determines the type of car you buy.