Three Essential Questions to Ask When Buying a Car

Sometimes it is important to go back to basics. This applies when buying a car as much as anything else in life. Of course, it doesn’t apply if you know the exact type of car you want to get the next time you are ready to purchase. If you are unsure, however, the following three questions will help you narrow your focus.

Question 1: What is your budget and how are you going to pay for the car?

This is an easy one to start with and will eliminate a lot of cars from your search. In terms of budget, it is best to have a price band that you want to stay within. Most of the time you will go to the upper limits of that price band, but you may find a deal that will help you save some money.

You also have to look at your financing options. This includes the value of your existing car (and whether you are going to sell it privately or trade it in), any additional money you are going to put to the car you are buying, the type of financing arrangement you prefer (PCP, loan, lease, etc), and the monthly payments you can afford. There are two other things that you should consider when thinking about financing and budget:

There are two other things that you should consider when thinking about financing and budget:

  • The potential resale value of the car, i.e. how much will it actually cost you to own?
  • The ongoing costs associated with owning the car – fuel, insurance, maintenance, etc.

Question 2 – What will the car be used for?

Next, look at what you will use the car for. For example, do you really need a big, rugged SUV if you only plan to use the car around town for school runs, trips to the gym, or commuting to work? Or, should you buy a small car if you spend long periods of time in it regularly?

There is an endless list of things you should consider but they include the miles you will drive each year, the type of journeys you do, the roads you drive on, how many people will regularly be in the car, how much boot space you need, and more.

Question 3 – What elements are most important to you?

The final question considers the things about a car, or buying a car, that are most important to you. Like the previous question, there are an endless number of things that can apply. They include the brand of the car or the cost of purchase. It could also include the reliability and whether the car has a warranty.

Other things that are important include how comfortable the car is to drive, how fun it is to drive, and what features or technologies are included. For example, a well-positioned cup holder might come high on your priority list, or you might want a boot big enough to take a full shop plus the pram.

Once you have the answers to these questions you can start looking with greater confidence for cars that will match your budget and your lifestyle.

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