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Making a Purchase: What You Need vs. What You Want

Buying a vehicle is exciting. Regardless of whether it is brand new or a few years old, the thrill of driving off the lot of a dealership after a purchase is something that is hard to match..

The danger lies in the waves of euphoria that your brain has stimulated after such an experience. There is a certain romanticism involved in such memories, meaning that the next time you have to buy another vehicle, it is important to remain smart and balanced in your approach.

As with any purchase as a consumer, there is the age old battle: deciphering what you need versus what you want. It is a struggle to have only an eye for the necessities when the bells and whistles can be so intoxicating.

So, here is a short checklist of considerations you should make note of before you begin your search:

Seating Scenarios: It may be easy to plan for the needs of your immediate family, but be sure to think about activities and what kind of role you are going to play. Do you ever car pool? Are you the first choice as designated driver for your group of friends? Is transporting your child’s teammates between practices and games something that is common? Envisioning these situations in advance is important.

Engine Performance: The cost of oil might be at record lows, but it doesn’t seem to be reflected in a reduction at the gas pumps. If you have high usage of your vehicle for either personal or work matters, carefully considering your day-to-day costs is essential before falling in love with a V8 engine that isn’t particularly efficient.

Convenience Features: Is it nice to have power windows that you don’t have to roll down? Absolutely. Is it nice to have automated seats that can perfectly adjust to your height and comfort level? Of course. But at the end of the day, if these features add thousands upon thousands of dollars onto the base price of your vehicle, are they really within your price range?

Storage Capacity: The hockey parent might have one or two large bags full of equipment to transport several times a week, while the empty nester might only use their car for light errands and basic groceries. Having a firm grasp of what you regularly transport is just as important as knowing who and how many take up seats in your car most frequently.

Warranty & Service: Post-purchase attention is so important, and the parameters of warranties can tend to be tricky if you don’t pay attention to the details. Do you know the length of the warranty’s term? How much is the deductible? Is roadside assistance included? Does the dealership always have a loaner vehicle available for you when servicing is necessary? These are all questions that should not only be considered as written, but are also points that can be used as part of the negotiating process.

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