Shopping for a car can be an exciting journey especially if you are buying your first car. As you start shopping, you will discover that you have hundreds of car models to choose from yet you only need one. Most models have similar features but the prices will vary depending on the brand. Picking the model that will suit you best may be difficult if you cannot differentiate your wants from needs. Here are some useful tips to help you pick the right model.
Set a budget
The prices of cars vary depending on whether you are buying a new or used car. New cars are expensive and their prices vary further depending on the model. Set a budget for the purchase before you start exploring different models. The choices in the market may cause you to spend more than you can afford, especially if you are enthusiastic about the latest models. Determine at this level if you will need financing and approach your bank for a car loan if necessary. It is advisable to get a commitment from the bank before you negotiate for any car.
Identify your needs
How many people will use your car? What type of cargo will you carry often? The right car should meet your needs perfectly, especially if you have a family. Consider the space required to carry everybody’s luggage when going on a family trip. Such considerations may be irrelevant if you are buying a car for yourself. In this case, you need to consider your needs. For instance, if you love adventure trips, get a car that can cover long distances and navigate rough terrains.
Cost of acquisition
The price of the car is the major component of the cost of acquisition. Consider other cost components such as routine maintenance, insurance, and processing transfer documents as well. Most sellers will not talk about these additional costs when advertising their cars. You must be keen to ask the right questions about costs and do the math before signing any deal. Compare prices of the same model of car with different sellers. The budget set in the first step will help you eliminate some models based on their total cost.
Power and fuel consumption
Some people buy cars for the outward look to keep up with the trend. However, the most important aspect of the car is the power of its engine. The type of engine in the car determines its power and fuel consumption. Most of the small car models that you will find in the market have a four-cylinder engine. The engine is the best in terms of fuel economy but its power is low compared to other engines models. If you are working with a limited budget, consider the engine model that supplies just enough power for your type of terrain and delivers fuel economy.
Be willing to compromise
The factors outlined above will help you narrow down the hundreds of options in the market to a few models. However, you may not find a model that has all the features that you need. Finding a perfect model is even harder if your budget is limited. Once you find a car that has all the major aspects in place, be willing to compromise on other features. For instance, if you are comfortable with the interiors, space, and engine power, you can compromise on the outward look. You can also compromise on the mileage if the best car in the market has covered more mileage than you expected.
Ask for maintenance records
Sellers will always claim that they have been servicing the car as required but their assurances are not enough. A serious seller should provide the service log to back their claims. Check if the records are updated and if the parts are in good condition. If you are buying your first car, it is advisable to involve a qualified mechanic when inspecting the vehicle. The mechanic can easily determine the true state of the car and help you negotiate a better deal.
Do a road test
You cannot determine the power and reliability of the car by just looking at it or inspecting it features. A road test is one of the most important steps before closing any deal. You will notice that most sellers want to choose the route for the road test. Insist on testing the car on different terrains where possible or cover enough distance before making the final decision. Discontinue the negotiations if the car develops any mechanical problems during the test. Pay for the car when you are fully satisfied with its function and condition.