Tips when car shopping for the family

Buying a new family car is a necessity from time to time, but it can be a frustrating, time-consuming and even stressful experience. After all, there are numerous models to choose from, and each seemingly has its pros and cons. More than that, the vehicle that you select has far-reaching effects that touch your lives for years to come. If you are preparing to buy a new vehicle for your family to ride around in regularly, put these tips into action to make a better buying decision.

Research Vehicles Carefully

From the Ford Edge and other SUVs to numerous minivans and other large vehicle styles, there are many models to choose from. You can eliminate many options from contention by reading online reviews and safety test data. You may also be able to scratch others off of your list by analyzing features that your family may need or want. Through your detailed online research, you may be able to reduce your in-person shopping time dramatically. Remember that many buyers feel stressed at the dealership, so doing as much homework as possible before you visit a dealership is helpful. This may also help you to avoid making a hasty, impulsive decision that may not be quite right for your family.

Focus on Your Budget

You can further eliminate options from consideration by reviewing your budget. Determine what your total vehicle budget is each month. This should include insurance, gas, maintenance and car loan expenses. For each vehicle that you are thinking about buying, estimate each of these figures. It is helpful to request an insurance quote from your auto coverage provider for the top two to three vehicles that you are seriously considering. You may also get prequalified for an auto loan so that you can have a firm interest rate in mind when estimating the loan payments. Before you visit a dealership for a test drive, you should have a good idea about how each of your top contenders will affect your budget.

Choose an Optimal Shopping Time

When shopping for a new car, you can easily feel stressed or even pressured, and this is most common when the dealership is hopping with activity. A better time to shop for a new vehicle is during the middle of the week and even during morning hours on a weekday. You will get personalized attention, and you typically will feel less stressed when you visit a dealership when very few other buyers are there. Plan to take a day off of work for your buying experience to ensure that you have ample time to compare the options during non-peak hours and to sign the paperwork after you decide.

Test Drive With the Whole Family

Because you are buying a family vehicle, it makes sense to test drive the car with the whole family. This will simulate your actual driving experience in the SUV, minivan or car. Consider how much room each person has to sit comfortably. Think about the car being loaded with backpacks, a baby stroller, a car seat and other items that are typically in your family car. Ask each member of your family for their feedback and insight. While you should make an adult decision based on numerous factors, it can be helpful to take everyone’s input into consideration. After all, the last thing you want is to have your children feel cramped in a vehicle that you intend to drive for at least the next few years. Furthermore, remember that your children will grow rapidly over the years. If they are currently cramped, they will likely become even more cramped as they grow.

Shopping for a new family car requires you to make important decisions that ultimately affect your family’s convenience and overall comfort level on the road, their safety, your family budget and more. While it is understandable why you would feel pressured to make a smart decision, you can see that some of the stress that you may be feeling could be mitigated when you approach car buying with a smart strategy. Regardless of where you currently are in the family car buying process, spend time walking through these important steps to improve your experience and to make a smart buying decision.