Buying any vehicle is a major life decision and a significant investment. You need peace of mind that the vehicle you purchase will meet your needs and last for years to come. If you’re thinking about browsing the used cars for sale in your area, it’s important to know what your vehicle preferences say about you and how to balance your preferences with your available options.
Things To Consider Before Any Used Car Purchase
Most drivers start their car-buying experience by coming up with a price range. This is a realistic first step for any car buyer because he or she must find a vehicle that fits within his or her budget. However, it’s important to not only consider the initial sale price of a vehicle but also the long-term cost of ownership. Newer vehicles generally cost more to maintain, and it may be difficult to find the parts you need for a newer vehicle. Consumers who buy used cars generally find that as long as they buy from trusted dealers, pre-owned vehicles are well worth the investment for several reasons.
Finding The Car For Your Needs
After you figure out the price range you can afford, it’s time to start thinking about the type of vehicle and the features you want. If you expect GPS navigation or a dashboard display, you’re going to have to limit your search to the last few model years of pre-owned vehicles.
Used car values fluctuate based on brand, popularity, and known issues. For example, if two equivalent cars release the same year but drivers discover a serious problem in one of them after about a year of driving, those two vehicles will likely have very different pre-owned values after a few years.
Pre-owned car buyers will almost always choose the vehicle without the known issue when presented with a similar choice, so bear this in mind while shopping. The pre-owned vehicle from only a few years back may seem like too good of a deal to be true. In most cases, it likely is.
Investigate Your Options
Research any pre-owned vehicle you consider purchasing very thoroughly as you narrow down your options. Look for known issues and common complaints among owners in online reviews and forums. You may also want to look for YouTube videos for reviews and other opinions from notable car experts and influencers.
How To Find A Vehicle That Matches Your Personality
The best used cars available at a dealership may not be your ideal choices, but it’s important to be willing to compromise during your search for a pre-owned car. For example, you may find a vehicle with the size, style, and options you want but hate the color. Repainting a vehicle can be expensive, but a one-time investment to make a pre-owned car feel more like “your” car is definitely worthwhile. There are lots of psychological aspects to vehicle ownership that many drivers don’t realize.
Perceptions About Vehicle Types And Brands
Human beings are very visually-dependent, so we tend to make snap judgments and even decisions based on appearances. This is an innate reaction based on biology, but it’s important to look more deeply than just surface appearances. For example, many people assign personality traits to different types of cars. Many people also feel drawn to certain vehicle types, colors, and options. There are even drivers who don’t care at all about their vehicles’ appearances as long as they perform well.
Some drivers may also feel concern about what others may interpret from their car choices*. Many drivers look with disdain on motorcyclists and sports car drivers because of a perceived reputation for cutting others off and speeding. Younger drivers may not want a minivan because most people consider them typical cars for “soccer moms” and parents. Older drivers may not want to bother with newer vehicles with lots of high-tech features that do not interest them.
People who enjoy thrill-seeking activities and style will likely feel drawn to sports cars and high-performance models. However, this may not be a practical option for parents or drivers with limited budgets. It’s also difficult to find sporty used vehicles in great condition, so a driver who enjoys fast cars may feel the need to pounce on the first pre-owned vehicle he or she sees that suits his or her tastes.
Luxury vehicles from Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Lexus, and Cadillac carry a reputation for great quality and comfort at significant expense. A car buyer with refined tastes or high income may still want to save money on a vehicle purchase and pick up a used luxury model. The good thing about luxury cars is that most hold their value for much longer than cheaper vehicles. The downside is they cost much more to maintain. Additionally, it may be very difficult to track down replacement parts for older imported luxury vehicles.
SUVs, Crossovers, And Minivans
These vehicles are versatile, practical, and generally ideal for families with children. Most larger vehicles are reliable and safe because manufacturers know that parents are the most likely consumer base for these types of cars. If you are more concerned with practicality over flashiness and performance, an SUV or crossover-style vehicle may be perfect for you.
SUV vs. Crossover: What’s the Difference?
Heavy-Duty Vehicles For Work And Off-Roading
Many people rely on their vehicles for work. Contractors, house painters, service technicians, and other blue-collar professionals likely need heavy-duty vehicles like pickup trucks to transport tools and supplies to and from job locations. If you prefer larger, powerful vehicles for work purposes or simply to go off-roading from time to time, a heavy-duty truck may be your best bet.
A Realistic Approach To Vehicle Purchasing
The car you purchase says a lot about you as a person, and although others may make judgments about your decision, their judgments ultimately do not affect you. Take your time to thoroughly investigate your options and don’t settle for the first vehicle that catches your eye. While you may have preferences for certain vehicles over others, it’s important to balance your preferences with the practical benefits of a used vehicle purchase.