Advice from Katrina
I'm not sure what my next car should be? Any advice?
There are a lot of factors that can be used to determine what type of car is
Some basic factors to consider are:
- Lifestyle: Single? Married? Kids?
- Car purpose: Daily driver? Fun? Haul things? Car Pool?
- Hobbies: Needlework? Mountain Biking? Boating? Dogs? Horses?
- Climate: Do you experience all the seasons? How are your roads cared for? How
comfortable are you driving your current vehicle during inclimate weather?
- Value you assign to your cars: Appliance? Covetted object?
- How much do you want to worry about maintenance? How far would you be willing
to travel for maintenance work?
Additional aspects to consider when identifying a car is:
- What do you like/dislike about your current car?
- Did you or someone you know have a car that you loved? What was it about that car?
- Make a wish list of every feature you would ever want if you could have the car of your
dreams. What are those features? Identify cars that satisfy the majority of those features?
As much as our sensible side tells us to go with a practical choice, remember this is your vehicle!
Make sure you are buying the vehicle for the right reasons which should be yours. Frequently vehicles are purchased
based upon recommendations or because someone else liked it.
Is there anything you wished you would have done when test driving a car?
Yes! There are several that I recommend based upon nuances you'll have to remember
as long as you own the vehicle.
My list of things to do while test driving include:
- Adjust the seat and mirrors like you own it.
- Play around with the controls, make sure you are comfortable with the reach and location.
- Try parking the car in a busy parking lot, like at the mall. Don't go for one of the open spots at the end.
- Parallel park the vehicle. When I switched from driving a rear wheel drive vehicle to a front wheel drive vehicle
this was quite a change.
- Try backing the vehicle into a parking space. Don't be afraid to turn away the other salesman trying to "help" you
- Make sure the vehicle fits in your garage or parking place.
- If you have car seats, kennel, or other equipment that will basically live in the vehicle, make sure they fit and leave
at least the same amount of space you're accustomed to.
- For a used vehicle -Make sure all the gadgets work and all the trim/accessory items are there. If they're not
negotiate a cheaper price based upon replacement cost or have the current owner replace before purchase.
Should I have a vehicle inspected by a mechanic prior to purchase?
Anytime you are considering purchasing a used vehicle, whether the purchase is private or through a dealer I highly
recommend getting the vehicle inspected by both a mechanic and an autobody shop prior to purchase. A lot of information can be
gleaned from the CarFax report, but those reports do not contain every specific detail, particularly for older cars. The cost of these
inspections can vary and may not catch every problem, but should give you peace of mind that you will not have any big ticket expenses for sometime.
I have not always had a vehicle inspected, in those circumstances I had someone else with me who was equally as knowledgable about cars and/or
the vehicle had to travel a comfortable amount of distance prior to my review which was indicative of the vehicle's soundness.
What about an autobody inspection?
Autobody inspections are highly valuable if you are looking at classic/specialty cars. Living in the midwest, most classic cars
have had significant exposure to salt and sand. Unfortunately the metal used to build these cars were not treated for rust prior to assembly.
I have seen otherwise "clean" cars that had significant structural rust making restoration too cost prohibitive
(I've experienced this, very sad). Having research fiberglass bodied cars (e.g., Corvette) I discovered that those bodies can incur
a lot of invisible abuse, from the simplest things like mechanics hoists or animal strikes. Do not be afraid to get expert opinions before making your purchasing decision.