Wondering which questions to ask when buying a new car? For many people, a new car is one of life’s most expensive investments, second only to buying a home.
No one wants to end up stuck with a vehicle that disappoints, but if you do some research, you could drive home in a car that enriches your life and provides years of reliable service. To assist you with your selection, here’s a list of questions to ask when buying a new car.
1. Does It Have All Your Preferred Safety Features?
Modern technology can help make us safer drivers. Many of today’s cars come with amenities that can reduce the stresses and risks that come with daily driving. Vital safety features include blind-spot monitoring, which helps you make safer lane changes by alerting you if there’s a vehicle in the adjacent lane. Be sure to compile a list of safety features that matter most to you, and make sure the car you choose has them.
2. Is It Roomy Enough to Fit Your Needs?
If you have a family of six, a five-passenger hatchback probably won’t cut it. Make sure the vehicle you choose has enough passenger capacity to accommodate everyone who regularly travels with you. Also, don’t forget about cargo space. If you and your passengers need lots of room for your belongings, choose a vehicle with enough cargo capacity to get the job done.
3. Is It Priced to Fit Your Budget?
If all features are the same between two cars, the used car will generally be a smarter financial choice than the new one. Still, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly purchase and don’t want to deal with reliability questions that can come with buying a used car, there are new cars on the market that are extremely affordable. If you’re financing your purchase, some experts recommend that you spend no more than 10% of your monthly take-home pay on your car note. That may seem like a low number, but keep in mind that you’ll have other car-related expenses to deal with, such as insurance and maintenance.
4. Do You Like the Way It Drives?
Cars can differ pretty dramatically in the way they handle. Some are tuned to deliver a stiff ride, while others provide smooth handling that emphasizes comfort. Given how much time most of us spend behind the wheel, it’s important to choose a car with handling characteristics that are agreeable to you. This is where a test drive is essential. Take the vehicle out for a spin before you sign on the dotted line — it’s the only way to make sure it offers handling that suits your preferences.
5. Does It Have All Your Preferred Tech Features?
While accessories may not seem as important as other features, there are some automotive tech features that many of us wouldn’t want to be without. One example is Bluetooth, an amenity that facilitates hands-free phone calls. Another is Apple CarPlay, which allows you to connect your vehicle and your iPhone seamlessly. Put together a list of tech features that you consider must-haves, and make sure these features are available in the vehicle you’re considering.
Once you’ve accounted for these factors, you should be ready to make a smart car purchase. If you take the time to consider the points discussed above, you can greatly improve your chances of picking a car that’s an ideal match for your circumstances.
Check out all the car accessories available on NAPA Online, or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on questions to ask when buying a new car, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
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I'm a writer and editor who's a regular contributor with the New York Daily News and Carfax, and my content has appeared in over 20 publications. I've written content that covers industries such as automotive, medical, insurance, healthcare, real estate, plumbing, pest control, dental and hospitality.