Tips, Tricks & Trends

Don’t Make These Compromises When Buying a Car

Buying a car that’s brand new or new-to-you can be exciting, stressful, and all-around a good experience. Most people don’t buy new cars often, and the average person keeps their car for a handful of years at least, if not more. Besides picking out the cars you are looking to test drive, there are a few things that you should be on the lookout for, and while you can compromise on color and tech features, you shouldn’t compromise on any of these in your car shopping adventures.

Reliability, reliability, and…

Reliability. You don’t typically buy a new car with the expectations that it will be unreliable, but just because something is fresh off of the car dealership lot doesn’t mean its free of defects. If you’re buying a car brand new, it’s important to check out for any technical safety bulletins or recalls, and to read what current owners have to say. On the other hand, buying a used car doesn’t mean you have to compromise reliability, either.

A silver 2008 Porsche Cayenne Turbo driving down a curving desert road, throwing up a plume of dust
2008 Porsche Cayenne Turbo | Porsche

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Buying a used car can require just as much research as buying a used car. The only difference is, after several years most of a car’s potential problems have revealed themselves. This means you can check in on common issues other owners have had and weigh your options from an informed standpoint. Taking a car to your mechanical or a mechanic local to the dealership or private sale for a quick inspection can also save you some big bucks later down the road, and it can also bring you peace of mind.

Safety features you need or want

A lot of the more talked-about safety features are only standard in modern cars, and while they can greatly enhance your driving experience and overall safety they don’t make the ‘necessity’ list for most people. It’s important to decide what features are important to you, and you can do that by creating a balanced list. On one hand, there are things that we need from our car, for many people this can be fuel efficiency, reliability ratings, or low mileage.

A 2020 Toyota Corolla hybrid on display
The 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid that has been named the 2020 Green Car of the Year | MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images

Then it’s important to note what features you want, but are willing to compromise on. They can be features that you would like to have, like heated seats or adaptive headlights, but that’s up for you to decide. It’s important to decide what you want versus what you need and to find something that fits within your budget while checking as many of these boxes as possible. This leads to the part that many people find hard: don’t compromise.

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Buying a car is a big purchase for most people, and you shouldn’t compromise past the point that you feel comfortable. Spending hours or even days test driving cars can be physically and emotionally exhausting, and the worst thing that you can do is to buy a car at that point just because it has ‘enough.’ Buying a car that’s reliable, safe, and has everything you need — and a good amount of things you want — will leave you feeling much better when you make that monthly payment.