The average American keeps their car for six years before investing in a new one.
That’s why buying your next vehicle is such a big deal.
However, once the excitement subsides, you have a big question to answer. What car should I buy?
It’s a tough decision, and no one can tell you what to do. Instead, consider these five tips to help you choose.
- Determine Your Budget
You won’t be finding the right car until you know what vehicles you can and can’t afford.
So, start your process by outlining your budget. Financial experts suggest you plan to funnel 10 to 15 percent of your monthly spending toward your new vehicle.
Leaving a little wiggle room for repairs can give you a more balanced, realistic budget. And, that way, you can choose a cost-effective car that won’t break the bank.
- Write Down What You Need
It can be fun to daydream about the car of your dreams. Chances are, though, that vehicle doesn’t have the features that you and your family need.
Write out a list of must-haves in your new car. For instance, you might need to ensure there’s room to secure carseats in the back. Or, if you’re a professional salesperson, you might need an upscale vehicle for driving around your clients.
Whatever your must-haves are, know them before you start to shop.
- Float the Idea of Leasing
Perhaps you want a car that’s outside of your budgetary constrictions — to buy, anyway.
You can consider leasing a vehicle to get all that you want for a lower price. Leasing allows you to trade in your car every few years so that you can drive something new and upgraded. Plus, leases typically include a thorough warranty, and hand-ins are hassle-free.
There are benefits to flat-out buying your car, as well. Weigh all of the pros and cons before deciding to purchase or lease.
- Test Drive Your Options
You won’t know if you like a car until you go in for the test drive.
Don’t just sample one vehicle. As you narrow down your list, the test drive could be the deciding factor — you’ll probably like the way one car drives over another.
You can test-drive new and used cars, too. The latter will allow you to drive multiple models and brands at once. Check out indoor leasing centers such as Monster Cars to test a multitude of high-quality vehicles before settling on one.
- Be Willing to Compromise
You might not be able to get your dream car just yet — and that’s okay. Be willing to compromise on your vehicle, so long as it provides your must-haves within your budget.
You can also skip out on fancy features to cut down on costs. For example, foregoing a rear entertainment system and buying a pair of iPads to keep kids busy can save you thousands.
What Car Should I Buy? Go With Your Gut.
You’ve already asked yourself, “What car should I buy?” Now, you have the tools to answer that question. Do your research, budgeting and test-driving to find the right vehicle for you.