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“Auto Savings Advice & Tips On How To Reduce All Your Vehicle Expenses”

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Defining New Car Characteristics


Finding a Make & Model


Preparing for Negotiations


Deciding When To Buy a New Car


Negotiating the Best Deal on a New Car


Do Not Buy New Car Extras



Defining New Car Characteristics


The purchase of a vehicle, particularly a new vehicle, is a major economic decision for most households.  The first step in buying a new vehicle that meets the household’s needs is deciding what major vehicle characteristics are most important, and making a list of those characteristics in their order of importance.  Be sure to bring the list with you when you are looking at vehicles, so that you do not “fall in love” with a model that does not meet your needs, or costs more than you need to spend to meet your needs.  Characteristics to consider include:  


1.     Vehicle mileage versus vehicle and engine size.  Remember, whatever gas mileage the vehicle gets you will be “stuck” with for as long as you own the vehicle.  That big SUV or larger engine may be needed once in a while, but will you ever be happy with the vehicle when you drive up to the service station?  Try not to buy that larger vehicle or larger engine just because it might come in handy a few times a year.  Remember, you can always rent a van for that special family vacation, or pay to have those building supplies delivered if necessary.  Hybrids, that offer better mileage, are becoming particularly popular and are even available in some larger vehicles.  Check on FuelEconomy.gov for mileage estimates of different cars.


2.     Vehicle reliability and repair costs.  While any make or model vehicle could end up being a “lemon,” some vehicle makes and models really are more reliable than others.  And even if reliability is expected to be the same, some makes and models cost more for both routine maintenance and needed repairs than others.  Because hybrids have fewer components that require regular maintenance, some auto service providers believe that hybrids may actually cost less to maintain versus a conventional drive train.  Over time this may or may not turn out to be true, but remember specialized hybrid components will require hybrid-trained auto technicians to complete repairs. For the foreseeable future, these technicians will probably be more expensive and harder to locate.   Also, while hybrid batteries are designed to last several years and may even last the life of a vehicle, if they do need to be replaced the cost can range from $3,000 to $5,000.


3.     Tire replacement.  Some vehicles not only wear out tires faster than others, but the replacement cost for the tires is greater.  For instance, low profile tires will generally wear out quicker and will most always cost more than standard size tires.


4.     Options and accessories.  Buying all those fancy options and accessories can really make a vehicle nice.  But make sure you only buy those options that you will actually use.  For instance, is that $2,000 sunroof really going to be used much?


5.     Insurability.  Depending on vehicle characteristics, the cost of insuring the vehicle for collision, comprehensive and liability will differ.  For instance, a high-performance sports car will generally cost more to insure than a standard sedan, even if the purchase value is the same.  This is particularly true if you have teenage drivers.  And you will pay this cost differential each year you own the vehicle.  Look under the “Automobile Insurance” heading for more information on vehicle insurance.


6.     Trade-in value.  If you are not planning on keeping the vehicle for most of its useful life, its expected trade-in value should be considered.



Finding a Make & Model


The second step in purchasing a new vehicle is to visit as many different car dealerships as possible to understand what makes and models are available, how they might best suit your needs and their approximate cost.  


1.     There are so many vehicles available today that you should be able to locate at least a few models that suit your needs very well, and are within your desired price range.