What to consider when buying a car

Disclaimer: I am not a car expert but have been through the pain of buying the wrong car so I just decided to share this in case it may help someone.

The thrill of buying a car especially if it’s your first can be too exciting to the extent that you overlook some important details that will however haunt you later. Buying a car is only the beginning, more costs will come, trust me. Fuel, oil, maintenance, licence fees, vehicle tracking devices, other miscellaneous expenses etc. A car may just break down unexpectedly, just like a tyre puncher will occur without any warnings. You need to be prepared for all that.

A car is not like bread that you need to be buying every day. Unless if you have that kind of money but then again, is it necessary? While others may have different cars for different activities parked in their garage, most of us do not have that privilege.

So this post is meant for those who cannot afford or who do not desire a car for every activity or those first-timers who are buying their first car. The excitement of getting a new car gives an adrenalin rush but the pain of making a buying mistake will leave you hopeless.

13 things to consider when buying a car

1.Assess your needs and lifestyle

Clarify between your needs and your wants. What are your needs, do you need space or you want space. If you are single u may not need much room as you need if you are a parent. If you are a contractor you may need a work vehicle, a truck or van appropriate for your requirements. Choose something that meets your requirements and you will be satisfied in the long run.

What does your lifestyle look like, which places do you go to and all that? If you are somebody who is always going offroad then try to find a car that can serve that purpose. If you are a city person then most of the cars would suit you.

2. Consider the purchase price and not only the instalment amount

After calculating a 72 months loan, you may realise that it’s not worth it. Don’t let the monthly instalment mislead you. Always negotiate based on the purchase price of the car, not the monthly instalment.

3. Consider your income

If you are buying on hire finance then you may need to consider how much you get monthly for you to be able to repay the instalments or else the car will be repossessed. Vehicle finance put in simple terms means the car will only be yours after your final payment. You need to consider also how much deposit you have. Consider insurance too.

4. Resaleable Value

You don’t need a car whose value falls to zero as soon as you drive it out of the garage.

5. Fuel consumption

The price of fuel has been going up, therefore, buying a fuel-saving car will be a plus for you and trust me I know it from experience, it will save you a lot of headaches. You don’t want to end up taking taxis whilst you have a car parked in your garage when it becomes gluttonous on your pocket, this happened to me.

6. Running expenses

Whereas you can find a very nice Mercedes or jeep, affordable to buy, kindly remember that after buying the car there are maintenance expenses that you need to cater for. Imagine having to buy one tyre for a cost of 4 tyres for another car, or having to fix a view mirror for a cost of servicing and doing everything for another car. Do not be so excited about driving to the extent of forgetting all these after expenses. From experience, I would not get an expensive to maintain car even if the cost of buying it is next to nothing.

7. Consider the size of your family and any near term expansions

Whilst it looks nice to drive around in a 2 door with a sunroof, trust me you are not prepared to change your car at the advent of an additional family member because that also comes with its own cost chowing request.

8. Prioritize on the accessories u need the most

Write down a list of the most important accessories to you, i.e something that would annoy you the most if you don’t get. Whereas anything with an engine, 4 wheels and steering can be driven, trust me, there are things that you value in a car that if you don’t get, you will always be frustrated. This could be space…some people feel caged in small spaces, you don’t wanna be running out of air every time you get in your car to go somewhere. It could be a music player and it’s accessories such as a cd player or USB port. Whereas a simple radio can do the trick but remember there will be areas with poor reception. Also, there are days when you will just feel like listening to that one song that boosts your mood or helps you to stay calm. Personally, I can deal with everything but not lack of music, I would go off my mind. It could be an aircon, you don’t wanna be holding the steering and feeling colder/hotter than someone walking on foot.

9. Check the reliability of the car

You don’t wanna spend more time outside the car pushing it than you spend inside driving it. Whether buying a new or used car. A new car comes with guarantees which a used one may not have but it’s also a lot more expensive than a used one. When buying a used one, do research and shop around, then decide whether to buy from a dealership or a private seller. Whilst a reputable dealership’s prices may be higher but they come with warranties as well.

10. If you are buying a used car, please get an authentic service history

You need to check the odometer of the car and the mileage. Has the vehicle been in accidents? Please for your sake, test drive the car! Check whether all controls are working; a 30 mins test drive is okay, test all controls whilst performing a normal drive; hit brakes, accelerate, take a corner, park, change lanes, etc, Is there a mechanical report of the car or can you do one before purchasing? You can take the car to a third party who can do a check and give you a report. Have your trusted mechanic with you to check and test the car because if you are like me, you will be clueless about most of the important check-ups. Also, ask why they are selling the car. Well, there is a chance that they may lie to you but at least you would have asked.

11. Internet, internet, internet! Do your research!

Before you go to any dealership, be sure you have researched and you know what kind of car you need or else you will find yourself being pressured to buy a car that you will regret later. You should have compared the prices. For example, if you have a trade-in, know the value of your trade-in because if you wait for the salesperson to tell you it’s worth, you may be underplayed.

12. Only mention your trade-in at the end of the negotiation

The dealer may use this information against you. First, negotiate the best deal possible then the trade-in will be to your advantage and not used as a negotiating tool.

13. If you don’t have the money, do not buy any add-ons like GPS

You can get these elsewhere for cheaper or with extended warranties.

I would love to hear from you regarding your experience with purchasing cars so please, leave a comment for me below and if you found this useful, please share it with others.

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