March 31, 2018
To buy a car is an important and costly decision. Once the decision has been made and the car is in your garage, the last thing you want is to be disappointed in its performance. Fortunately, there are ways to minimise the risk of feeling disappointed.
You may aspire towards owning that really fancy sports car you saw on television, but will it really suit your lifestyle and most importantly, your pocket? To get a realistic idea of your needs, you should consider the following.
You need to consider what the vehicle will be used for. If you are unmarried with no children, a smaller vehicle might be just what you are looking for compared to a family of five who needs to be transported to schools and activities during the week. If you love the outdoors, an SUV or bakkie might be more attractive than a normal sedan. Your personal need will definitely impact the decision you make so you need to be clear on what your needs are.
The distance you travel also impacts your decision. If you only travel short distances every day, you might prefer a vehicle that is known for fuel economy. If you often travel long distances, you might want a more comfortable car suitable for driving on the highway.
Where your car is parked overnight might also influence your decision. If you are going to park your vehicle in a garage, the size of the garage might determine the size of the vehicle too. Sometimes larger SUV’s, bakkies and off-road vehicles might not fit into a normal size garage.
This is where emotions have to be aligned with what’s in your pocket. 2,4 If you are paying cash for the car, then the following won’t apply to you. However, if you are going to be financed by a bank, carefully inspect your monthly budget, and see how much cash is left every month after all your obligations have been met. This is called disposable income. You can use calculators available on the Internet to calculate the monthly payment, but they are not as accurate compared to those used by a dealership agent. Monthly payments over 60 months are obviously lower compared to those covering 48 months, but the latter period will save you considerable interest.
Leasing a car means monthly payments will be lower compared to monthly instalments when buying a car. However, at the end of the lease period, you have to return the car, compared to when buying a car, where you will be the proud owner of a vehicle at the end of the instalment period, which you can drive for as long as you want to.1
You may have been focused on buying a particular vehicle, but have you considered other makes and models that are on the market in the same class? It might be possible that other vehicle make and models have better track records and aftercare service than the vehicle you originally had in mind. It is important to do your homework by visiting different dealerships or going online. Sooner or later, a picture begins to crystalize in your mind, which should either confirm or reject the car you originally had in mind.
Fuel economy is an important consideration. A rough gauge to use is that, if you plan on traveling about 20 000 km or less per year, a petrol engine might be the best choice. Since diesel cars are more expensive to buy, they have to do a lot more traveling to make up the difference.3,4
Some vehicles may not be so expensive to buy, but future services, as well as spare parts, are costly. Are spare parts easily obtainable locally or must they be brought in from overseas, causing delays and costing you more? These are all important considerations. 4
The proof of the pudding lies in its eating. You may have seen the car you want to buy a dozen times, and done thorough research. However, that doesn’t come anywhere near the actual experience of test-driving the vehicle. You owe it to yourself, in light of the fact that it is substantial expense to acquire a car.
Lastly, have you thought about getting car insurance for your new car? With PMD you can get affordable car insurance with fixed premiums for life.