Buy a New Car

Think Before You Buy a New Car

No matter how much you love your car, no matter how well you take care of it, someday it's going to fail you. You'll be tooling happily down the highway, and the transmission will fall out. Or maybe you ignore that O2 sensor a little too long, and your car quietly gives up the ghost one night. Could be you just looked at your Fiat the wrong way. Machines are highly susceptible to Murphy's Law of Complex Systems (if it can go wrong it will, spectacularly), and few machines are more complex than cars. Someday, horrifyingly, you'll have to buy a new one.

While mechanical catastrophe is one great reason to buy a new car, there are many others that are just as valid. After a few years of riding around in your car, you might tire of its various rattles and pings. It may turn out to be a real gas-guzzler, an important consideration in an era when a gallon of gasoline is almost as expensive as a gallon of milk. Maybe you've had a few too many fender-benders, or the wife doesn't like the color. Whatever the reason, you'll end up eventually heading out to the car dealership to buy a new car.

What to buy, what to buy…

Let's say you've finally decided to buy a new car. You set out to take a look, and are reminded once again of the sheer awful variety that lies before you. If you've got your heart set on what you've had before, then it's a snap -- unless, of course, reality slaps you in the face with high prices, lack of availability, or ugly new designs. It happens.

Suppose you've decided to play the automotive field, and your choices are limited only to your budget and personal style. This doesn't mean that it'll be easy to buy a new car; you're left with quite a few options, so you'll have to narrow it down a bit. Many of us prefer a specific make of auto: say, Ford, Chevy, or Bentley. Opting for a specific manufacturer is a quick way to pare down your options. If you care at all about the environment or your pocketbook, you'll probably want something that's fuel-efficient -- possibly a hybrid car, if one's available. Otherwise, smaller cars tend to be cheaper to maintain, keep fed, and insure. If you buy a big sports utility vehicle, don't be surprised if you end up paying $75 every time you fill it up with gas. A few months of that, and you'll be longing to buy a new car again.

Other considerations

You should never disdain comfort when you buy a new car. If you're a big guy, having to squeeze yourself into a Volkswagen Rabbit is going to get old really quickly (and yes, they're making them again). Other than personal preferences like color and transmission, you're left with practical considerations. Educate yourself about specific makes and models. For example, one of the Big Three Automakers is well known for the finicky electrical systems in some of its cars and trucks. Certain foreign brands tend to break down a lot; you might want to avoid those. If you have more gear to haul than most people, or if you live pretty far out in the boonies, a pickup's a better choice than a Mercedes. And if you work in the sewers all day, you probably don't want to bother with those Corinthian leather seats, eh?
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