What to Look For When Car Shopping

Written by cartalk on . Posted in Car safety, Picking the right car, Select your vehicle options

Car safety

So it’s time to go car shopping and you want to be sure that you’re picking the right car or picking the right truck for your needs. Whether you’re in the market for family vehicles, your kid’s first car, or you just need an upgrade, you want to focus in on a few key items, like car safety, reliability, fuel efficiency, and comfort. If you live in a snowy area, for example, you may be looking for vehicles with four wheel drive for extra traction; if you have a long commute, fuel efficiency might be your top priority. Knowing what your needs are and what you want out of a car can help narrow down your options when you go into a car dealership, looking for your next vehicle. There are also specific models that have proven to be reliable and have outstanding safety ratings, so those are also worth pinpointing in your search.

What Should You Be Looking For When Car Shopping?
You should first know what your preferences and priorities are. There’s a ton of research you can do ahead of time online and arming yourself with that knowledge is certainly recommended. Paying attention to safety ratings is also important. Look up the vehicle’s IIHS crash test rating (you want at minimum an “Acceptable” rating). Safety technology is always evolving and one new safety element that’s in many cars now is a safety alert system. If you get too close to an object, motion detectors will set off an alarm, alerting you.

When car shopping, you should also do some research into the reliability of your vehicle. Even if your car is less expensive upfront, repairs can be costly if it breaks down after only a couple years.

Are you interested in a hybrid vehicle or a vehicle that takes traditional gas? Do you want automatic transmission or manual? You should also take a look at the warranty being offered on the vehicle and see how long it lasts and what it covers.

What Should I Focus On For My Child’s First Car?

You want your child to drive safely and to drive a safe car. Indeed, per a Harris Poll survey that Chevrolet commissioned, around 95% of parents say that teaching their child safe driving practices is an obligation — not an option — as parents. And over half of parents are more worried about their kids driving without adult supervision than other areas that parents commonly stress about.

Obviously, the primary focus on your child’s first car should be safety. Teens are notorious for being distracted — make sure you hammer the “no texting and driving” rule into their heads! Having a car with great safety ratings and multiple safety features can’t guarantee your child’s responsibility and safety behind the wheel, but it’s a little extra security. Putting safety first may also help bring down insurance costs for young drivers as well.

As you would with any car you were considering purchasing, get a vehicle history report and do some research on what the most reliable models are, especially if you’re considering buying a used vehicle.

New Vehicles Versus Used Vehicles

Whether you’re buying a new car or a used car, the basic principles are car shopping are the same. However, looking at used vehicles can save you a pretty penny, not just on upfront costs, but also on insurance costs and registration fees. And purchasing a used car also means that your vehicle will depreciate less over time; a new vehicle depreciates quickly in its first year.

Used vehicles also don’t automatically mean you’re getting a clunker with tons of mileage on it. Some used vehicles may only be one or two years old with low mileage.

However, newer vehicles may have extra features and better technology. If there’s a few features in a new model that you’re interested in, it may be worth considering purchasing new if they’re important to you.

Car shopping can be a fun experience but there’s plenty to consider when doing so. Do your research ahead of time and be prepared before you even enter a dealership.

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