Buying a car is a very exciting experience. Having your own wheels means more freedom to visit places you like, whenever you like. And because you get to where you want to go faster than you would if you took public transport, you have more time for other activities.
However, you shouldn’t decide to buy a car without carefully considering the following factors:
1. CAN YOU AFFORD IT?
You’ll be surprised how many people buy a car without considering the additional costs that go into owning and running it. If all you’ve done is consider how much the down payment and monthly payments are, then you haven’t seen the whole picture.
You will also need to spend money on fuel, insurance, road tax, parking, maintenance and ERP charges.
Always over-estimate how much you’ll need to spend, especially when it comes to fuel, because fuel consumption can never be accurately measured (more on that here).
2. HAVE YOU CHOSEN THE RIGHT CAR?
If you can only afford one car, buy the one you need and not the one you want. It’s easy for an enthusiast to insist on a coupe or hot hatch. But if this is going to be your only car, it must be able to do it all for you.
For example, a low-slung sports car is awesome to drive, but if parking it is a nightmare and you don’t have enough moolah to feed its thirst for unleaded, you’ll only end up resenting your ride.
3. CAN YOU HANDLE THAT CAR?
You’ve done your research and your sums, and decided to buy a car that suits your needs. Hooray! Now, are you comfortable behind the wheel of that car?
Buying a car isn’t just a financial exercise. As the driver, you need to know that you can handle it, too.
Don’t go for that enormous seven-seater SUV just because you can afford it and your friends say it’s cool/it makes you look cool. Don’t fall for the “you sit higher up and can see more” line. Listen, not everyone has good spatial awareness. If the car’s size makes you uncomfortable, you’d better think thrice about buying it.
Similarly, if there’s anything about the car that makes you uncomfortable during the test-drives, it’s not going to go away. If anything, these negative traits are going to annoy you more and more over time.