Buying a Car: A How To Guide
Photo by Dhiva Krishna
Originally Posted On: Buying a Car: A How To Guide (week99er.com)
2020 has seen a rise in car sales. Of course, public transport is great – it’s cheap, it’s better for the environment and you can get from A to B without the responsibility of being in control of a vehicle. Instead, you can read, message friends and family, get work done or do anything else that can be done on a train, bus or other form of transport. But the coronavirus and Covid-19 pandemic has seen many of us beginning to crave the chance to travel to different places without having to share space and come into contact with strangers. When making the decision to get a car, some people may know right away that they want a Lincoln Aviator because it is their dream car, however, many people are not sure where to start in the car buying process. For those of you, here are a few pieces of advice that should help you to secure the right car for your needs, and a few areas of focus to get your journey started out on the right foot!
Setting Yourself a Budget
A car is a pretty big purchase to make. For most people, a car is the second biggest purchase they’ll ever make after their home. So, you’re going to want to make sure that this is something you can truly afford. This means coming up with a budget. Now, very few people buy a car outright. This is basically unheard of. Instead, people tend to take out finance agreements, loans or credit cards to make the purchase and will then pay the full sum back over a period of time. So, in order to create a budget you’re going to have to determine the finance options available for you. The most common types of finance are:
- Car finance plans – these tend to take the form of PCP, HP or leasing. PCP is when you take out a finance plan and pay monthly payments to cover the depreciation of the value of the car. When you come to the end of the agreement, you can make a payment to keep the car or hand the car back. This type of agreement has interest attached. HP is hire purchase, which is an agreement where you pay monthly instalments to pay for the car in full (plus interest) over an agreed period of time. Leasing is when you pay monthly sums to use the car but will definitely hand it back at the end of your agreement.
- Loans – a car loan will see you take out a loan for the sum of the full cost of the vehicle. You will then buy the vehicle and pay the lender back in monthly instalments. Most loans will have interest attached.
- Credit cards – credit cards are only an ideal option for buying a car if you can find a card that gives you an extended interest free purchase window. For example, a card that will cover the full value of the vehicle and that is interest free for three or four years. This could give you time to pay the balance off without incurring any interest.
Once you know your options, you can figure out how much you can afford to fork out on a car each month and you can find the finance option that matches this or costs less than this. Remember when setting a budget that you have to consider more than the cost of the car alone. You also need to factor in insurance costs, fuel costs, maintenance costs, tax costs and any other costs that come hand in hand with having a car.
Choosing a Car
Once you know your budget, you can start choosing which car you’d like. There are so many different types out there – from classic cars to modern cars, estate cars to cars with 4×4 wheels, hatchbacks to minivans. Only you will know which car is the best for you and your needs. You can determine how many seats you need, how many doors you need, whether you need storage, whether you need something smaller, or anything else. Put plenty of thought into this process and compare any options you’re interested in against one another. Read reviews. See if there are any recommendations. All of these things will help to ensure you choose the right vehicle for your needs.
Safety Features to Look Out For
Of course, you’re going to want your car to be as safe as possible. There are a number of safety features available on cars nowadays, as technology is constantly advancing and manufacturers are always seeking ways to make their cars safer than their competitors’. So, what features should you look out for when buying a car? Here are just a few.
Of course, you’re going to want a car with airbags. This sounds slightly ridiculous, as all new cars have airbags fitted as standard. But if you’re interested in classic cars, retro cars or older cars, you may find that the vehicle doesn’t actually have airbags when you buy it. This may sound silly, as many of us assume all cars automatically come with airbags. These really are an essential, so make sure any car you’re interested in definitely comes with airbags fitted in common impact points, including the steering wheel, the dashboard and the sides of the vehicle. You should also check that the vehicle hasn’t been recalled at any point due to issues that have been raised with the airbags. Finally, you need to make sure that the airbags in your vehicle can be deactivated – especially if you’re going to have baby seats or children in the front seat.
Anti Lock Brakes
Anti lock brakes are another standard on many modern vehicles, but are something you should actively search for regardless – just in case. But what are they actually for? Well, if you ever brake suddenly, the wheels of your car could easily lock, causing your car to spin (especially if you are driving in wet, frosty or snowy conditions). An anti lock brake system will help you to prevent this situation and will help you to maintain control of your vehicle.
A third safety feature to look out for is a pre-collision system. This is less common in cars, but many manufacturers offer it as an extra, or you may be able to find used modern cars with it already added. Put simply, a pre-collision system will use a camera and laser to detect other vehicles on the road ahead of you when you’re driving. If the system detects any possibility of you colliding with another video, it will alert you with a combination of audio and visual warnings. The system will then activate brake assistance which will automatically engage your brakes if you don’t use them yourself. This can help to prevent collisions and other road incidents.
A final safety feature we’ll focus on is adaptive headlights. These will turn your headlights to standard or full beam according to the light conditions you’re driving in. Of course, you can make these changes yourself. But having adaptive headlights will ensure that you have the optimum light for any given conditions as soon as the conditions take hold. This is great for your safety and other road users’ safety!
These are just a few different things you can do to help yourself find the best car to suit your needs. Hopefully, they’ll help you to find the perfect car and you’ll be on the road in next to no time!