Buying a car is a big decision, whether you are buying new, used or certified pre-owned (CPO). Second to buying a home, car purchases are some of the largest purchase decisions we make -- and we tend to buy them much more frequently than we switch homes. If it feels like it is about time to upgrade from your current car into something newer, more versatile, fuel-efficient or fun to drive, then consider these questions before making any car buying decision.
1. Why do I feel I need to buy a car?
This should obviously be one of the first questions you ask yourself, since it will help determine if now truly is the time for you to invest a new set of wheels -- and what kind you should buy. Are you looking to get out of your current car because it is unreliable, costly and you need something newer and more dependable? Has your lifestyle changed drastically that your compact sedan no longer makes sense with your active hobbies or growing family? Are you just trying to 'keep up with the Joneses' and looking for a status symbol car? Be honest with yourself.
2. What kind of car should I buy?
Today, shopping the car market is easier than ever before, because of the vast amount of information, car reviews and consumer reviews available online. Even if you are not very car-knowledgeable yourself, chances are you know someone who is -- or you can find helpful auto journalist articles online or knowledgeable car buyers on forums.
Some things to think about when shopping for and reviewing different car models:
- Any brand preferences
- Safety and reliability ratings
- Space and versatility
- Gas mileage
- Fun-to-drive factor
- Resale value
Considering the above factors will help you decide on a car, SUV or pickup truck, for instance; then, you can quickly narrow down your options by class of vehicle, such as mid-size sedan, compact crossover, full-size SUV, hatchback or wagon.
Stay tuned for Part 2 in our series, Questions to Ask Yourself Before Your Next Car Purchase.