It’s time for you to get a new family car. Time to say goodbye to the clunker that got you through your single life, and trade it out for a safe, reliable car that will accommodate your growing family.
Here’s the thing: buying a car for a family is a completely different ballgame. It’s not just about looks. It’s not just about money. It’s about safety and convenience. You might be ready to invest a lot more for something that will serve you well as your children grow.
How Do You Get Started?
First, do your research and make a list of your priorities. Everyone’s will be different, but here are some questions and ideas to get you started:
- How many passengers do you need to be able to carry?
- What kind of weather will you be driving in? Will you need off-road capabilities? Will you be driving in ice and snow?
- Will you be commuting? Is gas mileage important to you?
- Will you be using children’s booster seats and baby carriers?
- How much storage space do you need besides the seating? Do you need towing capability, or a rack on top?
- How will you use it the most often? (For example, if you need to be able to fit the whole family, but MOST of the time, just one person will be driving it to commute back and forth, factor that in).
- Do you have a preference about the size and look?
- How do you need it to handle, and what sort of performance are you looking for?
Winnow it down so that you have your “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves” sorted and prioritized. Be inflexible about your must-haves.
Do Some Research Online
Still unsure what you’re looking for? Maybe the best place to start is to look at the highest-rated family vehicles and evaluate how you feel about each. What are the strengths they have that you definitely want? What are the things that you’re willing to do without? Talk with your friends. Find out what cars they’ve had, and which cars they’ve loved, and ask them why.
Once you have your list, do some research online. Look at which cars appeal to you and which seem to fit your preferences. This might seem overwhelming, but there are amazing resources to guide your search nowadays. No one should ever walk into a dealership blind. Check out these websites to aid in your car search:
One More Thing Before You Shop
Get pre-approved for a loan. Many who are investing in a family car will need to get a loan. While these are available at your dealer, it’s always smart to go in already approved. First, do a credit check so that you know what kind of rate you can expect. Second, look into loans available from other sources besides the car dealer, which often have a better rate. Talk to your bank before going in. You might end up choosing to get a loan from the dealer, but you should have a comparison rate to start with, and if you’re pre-approved, it guards you from any unexpected hiccups.
While You’re Shopping
You’ll go in as well-prepared as you can be, but when it comes to performance and handling, sometimes the best way to tell what you do and do not like is test-driving. So even though you’ve done your research beforehand and you have a good idea of which cars you want to look at, keep your mind open while you test-drive. Keep a hold of your list of priorities and preferences.
Above all, don’t feel rushed! You don’t need to drive away with a new car the first time that you go looking. Test drive, pick out the things that you like and dislike, and then get some distance. It’s easy to feel pressured by a salesman and lose sight of your priorities. It’s also easy to get enchanted with a certain car and compromise the resolutions that you went in with. So take some time to sleep on your decision before you sign anything.
Once you’ve picked your car, don’t be afraid to haggle. Salesmen put more priority on actually making a sale than how much they sell it for. Always keep your priorities in mind while you’re talking about specifics and doing the actual sale. If they’re offering you bonuses that mean absolutely nothing to you, it’s useless. Barter for the perks that matter to you.
Hello! I am Camille, a wife, mother of four, Disney obsessed, certified teacher, and reality optimist. Motherhood comes with its ups and downs, and I hope while you’re here you’ll find something that makes your #momlife easier!