My brother is currently in the market for a new car after the one he has been driving for a while decided it wanted to stop working.
We were discussing the various pros and cons of some of the car models he was looking at and what he felt was going to be the best value for money option going forward.
Seeing as my brother used to work for a car dealer, he knows all the ins and outs when it comes to cars and the tactics that sales people use to try and get you into one car over another one. The main things that were on his agenda were:
Obviously buying a car isn’t going to be cheap, and having only recently landed a job price is of paramount importance to my brother at the moment. While I was talking to him he was telling me all about the margins that most dealers make on the various types of cars, particularly new cars vs old cars. Apparently the place a lot of the car dealers make their money is actually on used cars and not the more expensive newer cars.
Seeing as he doesn’t have huge amounts of money to burn, he had already decided that a secondhand car was the better option, and that he would be trying to squeeze every dollar out of the car dealers when he eventually went shopping.
Considering he had already decided on a secondhand car, the next big question was how old of a car he was willing to accept. Obviously the older the car, the more likely he was to have problems with it after he purchased it. There is also the fact that an older car will not depreciate as quickly as a newer one, so decisions need to be made in regards to just how old of a car he is willing to go for.
One thing that he seemed very interested in was finding a car that still had some form of warranty left on it. Most of the car manufacturers only offer a 3 year standard warranty, however there are a couple of brands that offer 5 years, and so this could be a big selling point.
Performance / Enjoyment factor
Something else that my brother was thinking of was performance and general enjoyment. Considering how much time people spend in their cars (particularly in traffic) it is better to try and find a car that you enjoy being in, rather than one you dislike.
Fuel Efficiency – A Long Term Money Saver
My brother wasn’t really concerned about the fuel efficiency of the car, but it is something that I have become very aware of – especially considering how expensive fuel is.
I never used to even think about fuel efficiency when it came to buying a car, but ever since my wife and I got married and have been driving 2 very different cars, it has become apparent to me just how important fuel efficiency is.
My wife drives a small Hyundai Accent that we only have to fill with fuel about once every 3 weeks. I on the other hand drive a Subaru Impreza that in comparison to the Accent is a very thirsty car. Now in the short term this isn’t such a big deal, but over the long term I suspect that my car has probably cost us upwards of $2,000 extra in fuel over the last few years.
The biggest difference between our cars is that mine has a significantly larger engine. That larger engine is costing me about $10-$15 a week more than my wife’s car is costing us, and what do I get for that money? Not much, just the ability to get to the speed limit faster and an increased risk of speeding fines…