Tips for selecting the right car for you

December 13, 2013 12:00 AM

Hunting for a new or used car can be stressful. You have to juggle multiple needs and wish lists with concerns about finances and capabilities, all the while keeping safety in mind. This can seem overwhelming, but there are many ways to streamline the process. One of the easiest is to simply stay organized. Keeping track of your progress is an essential part of any big undertaking, and it can be tremendously helpful as you search for your next automobile. 

Here are a few tips that may help you find the right vehicle: 

Make a list of must-haves
The first thing drivers have to do is create a list of the features they're looking for in an auto investment. Qualities like all-wheel drive, extensive storage space, state-of-the-art technology and new safety features are common wants, but motorists should get a bit more specific with their desires. For example, do you want to have a touch?-screen infotainment system integrated into the dashboard? What about Bluetooth connectivity throughout the vehicle? Will a comprehensive camera system make you feel safer on the roads? 

Set a budget
Obviously one of the biggest obstacles you will encounter during your search for a car is working with a budget. Talk with an expert to determine how much you can afford - but think beyond just the sticker price. You'll have to factor in the cost of monthly payments, insurance and the general ownership expenses associated with a vehicle. Finding a car with a low asking price is great, but if that same automobile tends to require extensive vehicle maintenance throughout its life, you may end up paying more in the long run. 

Think outside the box
Shopping around for a vehicle will take you beyond traditional dealerships. Not only should you check out a variety of different sales and car lots, but you should also look outside of the makes and models that you are immediately drawn to. For example, you may have decided that a full-size SUV has everything you're looking for without considering other options. However, crossovers and similar smaller-scale vehicles could also boast all of your desired features - at a more manageable price. You'll never know unless you keep your eyes and mind open. 

Invest in repair 
After you make a purchase, you'll have to put in some work before you can just hit the road. It is incredibly important to get a tune up after buying a car. This can clue you in as to any scheduled maintenance you'll need to plan for, as well as provide a professional look at any auto repair that may be required. 

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