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October 19, 2007

Car Buying Tips To Help with Your Holiday Season Car Purchase

Womancarbuying With the Halloween right upon us, and Thanksgiving and the Christmas Holidays around the corner, we should give some thoughts on how to pick the right car to buy.  Many people know that no two drivers are the same, which is why we decided to get down to the fundamentals of shopping for a new car.  We all have needs and getting help along the way will save us lots of effort and make us better educated buyers.

First, you need to know that buying and leasing are different
When you buy New, you pay for the entire cost of a vehicle, regardless of how many miles you drive it.  However, auto loan rates are usually a bit lower when you are buying a new car than when you buy a used car.  It is true in general, a new car requires less maintenance in first few years and most of the problems occurred within the original warranty coverage period will be covered by the car manufacturer.  In addition, you may decide to sell or trade the vehicle for its depreciated resale value.

When you buy Used, even if it is just a year old, you are avoiding the initial dramatic drop in value.  Many used cars come with warranty programs that are equal to what is offered with a new car.  Moreover, the used car market is a lot safer than it used to be.  With vehicle history reports as well as research and pricing services online, you can ensure that you are choosing a used car that is going to be a dream come true, not a lemon.

When you Lease, you pay for only a portion of a vehicle's cost, which is the part that you "use up" during the time you are driving it.  You are allowed to "rent" a new car for two to five years and have the option of not making a down payment, you pay sales tax only on your monthly payments (in most states), and you pay a financial rate, that is similar to the interest on a loan.  You may also be required to pay fees and possibly a security deposit that you do not pay when you buy.  At lease-end, you return the car and pay for any extra damages or mileage.  You can also buy the car or trade it for a new car at the end of your lease term.  With leasing, you pay less now, but more over time, for a car.  You also assume more financial risk than someone who buys a new or used car.

Whatever you choose make sure you have checked your pocketbook for what will work best for you. 

Ap_women_car_buying Next, you need to know the Essentials - Safety, Reliability, and Fuel Economy & Cost
Safety and Reliability:
I know many people who ask what about the best make or model should they get.  Personally, it really does not matter if the vehicle does not cover your needs and your essentials.  In the long run we all want four things Safety, Reliability, Fuel economy and a car priced within our budget. 

Safety is tricky as no one car is completely safe but certain models can protect you better in case of a crash and have feature you want for you and yours.  You can compare crash test ratings, find other car safety related information online at and learn more about some vehicles features that may help you to avoid an accident in the first place by going to: 

NHTSA  - National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website is a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, sets and enforces safety standards for vehicles, investigates vehicle defects, and performs the best-known crash tests..  - crash-test and rollover ratings for specific models by NHTSA

IIHS  - The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety website where you can compare frontal offset and side impact crash test results as well as Injury, Collision & Theft Losses and Fatality rates for different cars.

Reliability is one of the most important factors to consider especially if you decided to go for a used car.  Not all cars are the same and some are proven reliable while others are known for constant problems.  There are a number of resources to check reliability ratings however, are aware, even most reliable model car will not last long if not maintained properly.

Kelly Blue Book  and  - they offer new and used car ratings and price guide.

J.D. Power and Associates - they offer new and used car ratings. 

Consumer Reports and CARFAX - Both sites provide excellent data  but payment is required.

Fuel Economy:
With unpredictable gas prices, choosing the more fuel-efficient vehicle will help you to save money at the pump.  Economical cars pollute less, which is good for the environment.  By choosing the more economical vehicle, you are helping to fight global warming.  In addition, there might be tax incentives for fuel-efficient cars so check and see if any of these will apply in your state or province.  To get help comparing fuel economy and pollution ratings of different cars use the following links below: - Includes information on fuel economy for cars and trucks, and tips

US EPA - To find fuel economy information for consumers

Cost covers many areas from first purchase of the car to daily maintenance costs and the monthly cost of insurance.  It all varies a lot depending on the make, year, model, and even the color of the car, as well as driver's experience and many other factors.  I recommended doing your research and get some quotes. 

Ap_car_buying Hidden But Helpful:
Now we need to give you the hidden but helpful tips before you buy:

Car rentals are your friends - rent the kind of care you want for a week or a weekend before you buy.  Doesn't matter if it has high or low miles you will get a much better feel for the vehicle before you buy then you would on a test drive.

Check the National Insurance Crime Bureau's web site at, they have fact sheets on cloned vehicles to vehicle theft.

Check for recall notices at - Available for all dar and truck makes and models.

Always have the car new or used checked by a professional mechanic you trust -- you never know when something was missed.

Maqueda_hooks Maqueda "Maq" Hooks, Maq as known by friends and co-workers, is a recent graduate of Jones International University. Her knowledge comes mainly from a mother's love of knowledge, research and school as well as a father who has worked in automotive industry for over 30 yrs.

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