5 Tips for Finding the Perfect Vehicle for Your Growing Family
Now that your family is larger than ever, you need a little more room in your vehicle to carry them around. Your old car may have been big enough to hold the immediate members of your family, but will it be able to handle another car seat, pack sporting equipment for after-school practice, or pick up new friends for sleepovers? As you think of all the things that your family has in store for your car, it may start to seem a little cramped.
Outgrowing your family vehicle is totally natural and expected. However, it can be hard to say goodbye to a car that helped you make countless memories and kept your family safe. As you begin the car-buying process, keep these tips in mind to find another safe and reliable vehicle that will serve your family well for years to come.
Determine Your Budget
First, you’ll need to set a budget. With so many other responsibilities on your plate, your initial vehicle purchase and ongoing payments will have to fit seamlessly into your existing financial plan. Be realistic and responsible with your estimate to avoid sticking yourself with new monthly expenses that you can’t afford. You definitely don’t want to add strain on your family’s usual spending as you’re making room for new additions!
Make sure that you study up on loan options and compare insurance premiums to get the best possible deals. You should also consider what you might do with your old vehicle–giving it to a family member or friend, donating it, selling it, or trading it in will have different effects on your budget. If you go into the car-buying process with a clear picture of your available resources, you’ll feel way better about the impact of your purchase.
Make a List of Needs & Wants
Next, you’ll need to sit down and consider which features your new family car needs to have. Things like seating and standard safety features are non-negotiable, as you need to have enough room for your children and they need to be protected. However, you and your partner (and maybe even your children) can put in suggestions for cool features that would make everyone in the family happy.
For instance, you and your partner may enjoy advanced tech features like Bluetooth device pairing and collision warnings to make your driving experience safer and more convenient. Your kids may request a car with television screens for the backseat. To get an idea of which models suit your needs and preferences, check out vehicle safety ratings and new tech releases. Whether you are able to accommodate everyone’s preferences or not, it’s wise to hear everyone out before heading to the dealership.
Think About Versatility
When deciding on which type of vehicle you might enjoy most, consider their versatility. Daily commutes to work and school require different features than long-distance road trips do, so keep those differences in mind. Be mindful of which options work best for your daily needs and habits, but don’t neglect fun goals like having a car capable of handling long vacations or pulling RVs and campers.
Test Drive (and Test Pack)
Finally, don’t forget the most important part of deciding on a vehicle: the testing phase. You may not have spent much time on this part of the car-buying process in the past, but driving is different now that you have a family to consider. When you test drive a vehicle at a dealership, make note of the features you know you use most. Backseat volume settings, air conditioning controls, and rearview mirrors are specific features to pay attention to during your test.
Don’t forget to ask the salesperson if you can try putting in car seats or fitting large or awkwardly shaped sporting equipment into the trunk before settling on a purchase. You know the ins and outs of transporting kids better than anyone, so make sure a new vehicle is up to the task.
Keep these tips in mind as you search for your next family vehicle. If you keep budget, needs and preferences, family goals, and daily habits in mind as you shop, you’ll find the right car in no time.