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What to think about before you buy your next car

What to think about before you buy your next carWhether you’re looking for something functional or funky, choosing a new car can feel like a daunting task. Before you set foot in a dealership or a used car lot, it’s important to put some real thought into what you are looking for in a vehicle.

Here are some things to start thinking about now, so that when you’re ready to shop you can head out with a clearer picture of what you’re after:

Size: It matters. Too big of a car and you'll regret it when it comes time to park. Too small and you'll need 2 cars to get to a family get together. Take a hard look at your lifestyle and come to an understanding of how much space you need. Don't buy a mini-van for your family of three unless carpooling the entire soccer team every week is something you normally do. Similarly, as cute as that coupe is, if you've got to fit hockey bags for three children and a dog in there, buying it could be a big mistake. Consider your needs and buy accordingly.

Fuel Efficiency: It used to be that good fuel efficiency was a perk; now it's more a necessity. Between the desire of society to protect the environment by easing up on the gas-guzzlers and the desire to ease the pressure on a wallet at the pump, a fuel-efficient car might be a good idea. Do your research. Understand which figures you need to look at to understand the labels on the sticker in the car window and factor it into your decision-making. A car that is going to require only high efficiency gas or diesel to function properly will bring their own unique considerations.

Aesthetics: The fact of the matter is you don't just want a car that works well, you probably want one that looks great too. That's nothing to be ashamed of as long as you don't let the cherry red exterior paint distract you from a clunker under the hood. Ask yourself whether you like the look of the vehicle before you start negotiating to own it. And never make a purchase without taking it out for a test drive (or three!) first.

Functionality: It's the most important part of your new car purchase but often people don't spend enough time or attention on how the car functions. Turn off the radio during your test drive so you can hear how loud the engine is when you're driving. Does it annoy you? Can you live with it? How does it handle turns in the road? If you had to overtake another vehicle in a tricky situation could you do it quickly and with general ease? Or does it lack the guts you need to get you where you need to go? Keep basic and special features in mind too. Little conveniences like a USB plug or CD player may be necessities for some and bonuses for other. Decide which it is for you and that the set-up works for you.

Budget: At some point you're going to have to put your money where your mouth is. Before you do, it will help you to whittle your list if you have a good understanding of what the price you're being quoted includes. Make a list of the bells and whistles you'd like to have in descending order from "must have" to "that'd be nice" before you head out. Spelling out for yourself what is a priority will help when it comes time to negotiate your price. Also, when you're car shopping, the internet is your friend. See what different dealerships are advertising your car for and what the manufacturer's suggested retail price is. Chances are there is room for negotiation in between. In the end you'll need to understand what you can afford per month factoring in extras like insurance costs, depreciation values and resale opportunities.

General information not about PC insurance products is provided for your reference and interest only. The above content is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and is not a substitute for, and should not be construed as the advice of an experienced professional. PC insurance does not guarantee the currency, accuracy, applicability or completeness of this content.

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