There comes a time in most people’s life when they decide to get a new vehicle. For many people, this can be overwhelming and arguably one of the biggest decisions needed to be made. To make this experience simpler, here are some things to keep in mind when navigating the car buying/leasing process.
Leasing Versus Buying
There is no clear cut answer whether to lease or buy a car. For each individual, the decision will vary based on personal preference and lifestyle. If you’re willing to make a higher monthly payment until your loan is paid off and don’t mind driving a vehicle for several years, purchasing a car is the best choice. However, if you prefer a less expensive monthly payment and would rather drive a car for just a few years, leasing a vehicle would be a better fit.
Money, Money, Money, Money…Money
Though it can be tempting to lease or buy a car outside your budget, you don’t want to put yourself in a bind each month when your bill is due. Rest assured there is plenty of time in life to ride in style in your dream car.
If you haven’t already, take some time to figure out your monthly expenses. Based on this, decide how much you can afford to spend on a monthly car payment. It’s recommended your total car payment (interest, insurance, etc.) should not exceed 10% of your gross income. If you’re still in the dark, try using these online tools to help calculate your monthly lease payment or monthly car loan payment.
What Type of Vehicle?
There are so many different types of vehicles on the market – sedan, hatchback, SUV, crossover, couple, convertible, truck, hybrid/electric, diesel, minivan, luxury, wagon, etc. Spend some time accessing your personal needs in a vehicle and researching which vehicles will fit these needs. Though sports car may be more fun to drive, it may not be realistic for weather conditions or changes in the seasons. Additionally, a small sedan may not be ideal for fitting a growing family along with groceries.
Additionally, there are various online resources providing information on a vehicle, such as Edmunds.com, J.D. Power, and Consumer Reports, along with online reviews from industry experts and owners which can give you a better understanding of the car.
It’s All in the Details
Automakers offer just about every feature you can imagine in their newest vehicle models. Some features are standard in most cars. However, other features can be considered luxury with an additional cost. Make a list of non-negotiable features and others that would be nice to have but could be lived without before heading to the dealer.
- Fuel Economy: cruise control, manual transmission and engine size
- Functionality: interior fabric type, entertainment system, power features (locks, windows and seats), remote start, remote entry, heated seats and steering wheel, sunroof, rooftop storage racks, and towing packages
- Safety: airbags, antilock brakes (ABS), tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), automatic emergency braking (AEB), blind spot monitoring, all-wheel and four-wheel drive, and back up camera
Take It for a Spin
Last, but not least, head to your local dealerships to test drive your top vehicle choices. Test driving a car is a valuable opportunity to get a first-hand experience for a car’s performance and handling along with its interior features.
Before your test drive, take a look at the car’s exterior to consider its color, style and size. Once you get into the car, get a feel for the driver’s seat by examining the dash, seating and its adjustment controls, and the car’s visibility. As you drive, be conscious of the car’s acceleration, engine and road noise, braking, steering and handling and suspension. Also, make sure you feel comfortable with the car’s technology including its infotainment screen, backup camera and steering wheel controls.
Buying or leasing a car can be nerve-racking, however, keep in mind it’s a learning experience. At the end of the day, you’ll be driving away in a new set of wheels enjoying the new car smell!
Have you recently purchased or leased a car? Comment and share any tips for to help our first time readers!