You’re planning on buying a new family car, but where do you start? Many of us rely on the convenience of owning our own car to get around, with cars often being the second most expensive purchase for the average family or individual.
Many individuals invest in their own car as their first major purchase, even before buying a home or other larger investments, but knowing what to do when buying a car is not always straight forward.
This guide will help you prepare to buy a new family car, with steps and tips to simplify the process and take away much of the overwhelm that comes with such a large purchase!
Car Buying Made Easy – Preparing to Buy A New Car
Buying a car should be a relatively simple process but you also want to be certain you are minimising the potential costs involved. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with options and end up with a bad deal, a lemon or a debt you can’t afford!
Making the decision of buying a new car that’s suitable for the whole family can be a lot of pressure. You have to consider quite a few things before you buy, including, of course, finding something that is kid-friendly too.
Check out these steps for simplifying the process of buying a car:
The first stage of buying a car is determining the type of car you need for your personal circumstances.
If you are single or part of a couple, you may be happy with a smaller car. Families will want something larger – big enough to fit all the family members and other things you may commonly need to transport.
One of the things that you need to consider is the size and space of the car’s interior. If you have just one child, then getting a small vehicle would be practical. If you have 3 or more kids, then you will likely want to consider getting a bigger family car.
Toddlers and babies need car seats, so you need to ensure the vehicle you have in mind is wide enough to fit your current or expanding family situation. SUVs and vans are both great choices if you need extra space.
Or if you are planning to use your car for a specific purpose, such as transport of tools for work or for towing a trailer or caravan, you may need to consider a larger vehicle that is able to do this.
2. Do Your Research
The planning stage will require some research, which you can do online once you start to narrow down the type of vehicle you would like to purchase.
A good place to start is with a guide such as How Safe Is Your Car.
As the name suggests, this is a great resource for anyone that values the safety of their vehicle above all else.
Family and friends are sure to have recommendations as well, including some potentially with personal experiences with the car models you may have in mind.
If you live in a place wherein driving on ice is a constant challenge, then you may wish to consider getting an all-wheel-drive or a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
For people who live in a place where dirt and gravel has to be dealt with, then get a car with additional ground clearance and tires that can withstand rough roads.
3. New or Used Car
Another part of the planning process also depends on your personal budget. If you do not have much money to spare, or a great deal to budget towards a car loan, you may be best choosing to go with a second hand car.
Alternatively, if it is within your budget to meet the repayments, a new car may be your preference. There are pros and cons of both new and used cars.
The best advice that you can take when deciding on a family car would be to get a vehicle that you can easily afford.
Your monthly payment must not exceed 15 per cent of your income, as spending more can put you at risk of being unable to manage your repayments or other living expenses.
One of the big benefits of a new car is, of course, the new car warranty for the first several years, which covers you for any manufacturing faults and related issues. A used car is of course much cheaper.
4. Finding A Car
The next stage of buying a car is finding the one you want. By now you’ve done some research around the type of car you want and possibly even narrowed it down to the exact make and model. Otherwise, you may need to do some further researching around what is available.
This can be done in person by browsing local car dealers in your area and finding what is available and in your budget.
Alternatively, you may decide to use an online car buying website or online marketplace, which saves time visiting endless car yards and allows you to narrow your search.
This is also a great way to determine the approximate prices of the type of cars you are interested in owning.
5. Choose Carefully
When you believe you have found the perfect time, make sure you take the time to ensure it really is the right decision for you. A test drive is essential!
This will help you get a feel for the car and it’s drivability. And ask yourself these important questions before you decide:
- Do you want to get a luxury car, or is frugality important for you?
- Is your main priority your kids’ comfort?
- Do you need a pet-friendly vehicle for your fur family?
- List these things and weigh them up before finally deciding on a car. This is a decision you don’t want to rush as you want a family vehicle that will last a significant period and serve your needs with growing and adapting families.
6. New Car Finance
Once you have the car you want in mind, finance is often the most stressful parts of buying a car. Whether it be a case of not having a large budget to spend or not being able to get finance approval for the amount you want.
If you are lucky enough to have the full or partial cost of your car in savings, the process becomes much easier as you can pay directly for that portion of your car, purchasing outright without needing finance. Or only requiring a partial loan.
More likely, though, you will require finance to fund your purchase and this becomes a case of finding the right service provider for your needs.
You may choose to source finance through your existing financial provider, such as your bank, or through the car dealerships finance partner. Do your research before signing up to a finance package to ensure that this is the best possible deal for you! Interest rates can differ greatly!
Yet another option is to secure finance with a company that specialises in vehicle loans.
7. Car Insurance For Your New Car
Once you have your new, car there are some important steps you should take even before you take your car home.
Ensure you have suitable car insurance in case of damage, fault or accidents. You need to ensure you and your car is protected in the case of such circumstances, especially since you will still be potentially paying it off yourself.
8. Car Maintenance
Maintaining your new car, whether it is brand new or used, it is essential to schedule regular services to extend the life of your car.
Your new car should be treated with the same care you give other important assets, and regular maintenance will also prevent unnecessary breakdown. It also helps to keep you and your family safe!
The RACV has a handy car maintenance checklist that covers the basics however its always worth touching base with your dealership to take care of major items.
This may mean more ongoing costs in the short term, but less major costs in the long term, which can help you save money by avoiding the unexpected.
Buying a new car for your family transport should be an exciting time so I hope these tips help to make the experience more enjoyable and less stressful overall!
Do you have any tips or experiences to share that helped when buying a new car?