How to Choose the Right Car for You

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Finding the right car for you can be extremely long and a challenging process. Being presented with a lot of choices in cars can both be a good and bad thing. Good because you have a lot of options to choose from and bad because of these many options, you may find it overwhelming to choose which car will be appropriate for you. Here are 5 tips you can use in choosing the right car:

  • What kind of car do you want and need? Take a moment to think about what will be the use your car. How many people do you need to transport? What type of driving do you do most often? How long is your commute? Is it important that your next vehicle get good gas mileage? If you do, you might either exceed your budget or have to go car shopping again soon. Let your needs, not your wants, drive your decision. Here are a few other questions to keep in mind when you begin your car-buying process: Do you want a manual or automatic transmission? Do you really need a four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive? What safety features do you want? Do you require a lot of cargo capacity? Will you be doing any towing? Do you have a bad back and need flexible seating positions? Will the car easily fit in your garage or parking space? 
  • How much can you afford? Establishing a realisticpayment that fits into your monthly budget is crucial. A rule of thumb is your total monthly car payments shouldn't exceed 25 percent of your monthly take-home pay. 
  • Research Online. You can gather a lot of vehicle information today by shopping online. Car dealers are waking up to this new breed of shopper and have created websites with great amounts of information for the educated buyer. Cars.com is a leading online destination that helps car shoppers and owners navigate every turn of car ownership. A pioneer in automotive classifieds, the company has evolved into one of the largest digital automotive platforms, connecting consumers with local dealers across the country anytime, anywhere. Through trusted expert content, on-the-lot mobile app features, millions of new and used vehicle listings, a comprehensive set of research tools and the largest database of consumer reviews in the industry, Cars.com helps shoppers buy, sell and service their vehicles.. 
  • Costs of ownership. One car might be cheaper to buy, but more expensive to own. Why? Even if two cars cost about the same to buy, one can depreciate at a different rate or cost significantly more to insure or maintain mechanically. Before you commit to one car, you should estimate the long-term ownership costs of the vehicle you are considering. These include depreciation, insurance, maintenance and fuel costs. 
  • Test-drive the car first. The test-drive should replicate the conditions the car will be used in after you buy it. If you commute, drive the car in both stop-and-go traffic and at freeway speeds. If you frequently drive into the hills, try to find some steep grades to climb. Drive over bumps, take tight corners and test the brakes in a safe location. Get in and out of the car several times and be sure to sit in the backseat, especially if you plan on carrying passengers. In short, ask yourself if you can live with this car for a number of years. If you are uneasy about the vehicle, follow your instincts. A vehicle purchase decision is too important and expensive to undertake without total confidence.

photo via carmagazine.co.uk

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