3 Questions to ask yourself before you start shopping for a vehicle?

Buying a car can generate all types of emotions and fear is definitely near the top of the list. Consider these tips the next time you’re in the market for a new or used car to help you get the best car for the best price.

What are we so worried about?

It’s easy to see why so many folks are apprehensive about shopping for a new car, van truck or SUV: Vehicle purchases are the second largest (and longest) financial investment we make next to real estate. That’s a lot of your hard earned cash to fork over to operate your own vehicle in BC.

Even though new vehicle prices are fixed from the manufacturer, the amount you’ll pay for your new ride can have a difference of thousands of dollars from one dealership to the next- especially in this market. Factors such as the availability of stock, end of model clearances, rebate programs, trade-in value or how motivated the commissioned Salesperson is to sell it to you, all contribute to your final price.

Used vehicle shoppers suffer a different kind of anxiety as no two used cars or trucks are identical, so that makes price comparisons difficult. Used car shoppers may be armed with a Kelly Blue Book or the Canadian Black Book to help determine a ball park figure, but it’s factors like mileage, wear and tear, options, and how much the Dealer had to spend to get it retail-ready that will determine a used vehicle’s one-of-a-kind price tag. Check out our rankings for some information on some of the best used SUVs and Cars to buy in Canada.

Here are some questions to ask yourself so that you can feel more informed, and prepared when you shop for a vehicle.

Question 1: What about your current vehicle?

You’ve likely thought a lot about your current vehicle by the time you’ve decided to make a change- so how can this help you with your next purchase?

The first thing you need to think about when it’s time for something new, is what you’re driving now. What do you like about it? What doesn’t work for you- what do you wish was different. This is a great way to determine what you really need or want in your next ride. 

Additionally, make plans for what you’ll do with your current vehicle- are you handing down to a family member? Keeping it as a spare? If you’re selling it- are you going to do so privately or trade it in for the tax savings on your new vehicle? 

If you’re planning to sell your vehicle- It’s a good idea to look online at what similar vehicles are going for, or an online trade appraisal like the one offered by VIDrives- and if you’re paying it off still whether this sum will cover the amount remaining on your loan. If you’re planning to trade-in, any outstanding balance will be taken care of by us, or the dealership with no extra work or headache on your end. Your trade in value, new payments and loan amount should always be presented to you before signing documents, so you can make your decision confidently, and knowing all the information. 

Question 2: How much am I willing to pay?

You may have dreams of a luxury sports car, but your budget may determine a practical SUV instead. Remember to factor in operating costs in addition to your purchase price or monthly payment. 

Consider the differences between short term and long term financing, whether you’d like to use your savings to pay cash, or procure a car loan. If you’re interested in building credit, don’t have the cash on hand, or are saving for something else- financing may be the most cost effective, and most convenient option.

Make sure your car payment leaves room in your budget for the remainder of the cost of ownership, such as fuel costs, car insurance, regular maintenance and repairs. Consider Extended Warranty options to mitigate some unexpected costs associated with your vehicle as well. 

The average car loan in 2021 was around 84 months, or 7 years. So it’s important to think about your overall financial landscape over the foreseeable future- like your other bills, housing costs, income, and potential for other large expenses to arise. Leaving some wiggle room in your budget at the end of the month, it may help mitigate some of the risks and fears associated with buying a vehicle. 

Question 3: What do I need, and what can I live without?

Once you have a basic understanding of your budget, and with your current vehicle in mind- it’s time to narrow down your search for a vehicle. 

Firstly, what do you need? If you’ve frequently found your current vehicle is too small, or won’t fit enough passengers- you’ll need something larger. If you’ve found that you rarely use all the storage space, and get upset at your monthly cost of fuel, that could mean it’s time to downsize. 

Next, what do you want? What is it you love about your current vehicle, or what have you been missing? Maybe heated seats in the winter are a must for you, or you love having a sunroof. If you love listening to music, maybe a good sound system is an asset. 

Here are the major subjects to consider when you’re deciding what you’re looking for: 

  • Seating: will the seats be comfortable? How many seats are there? Leather or Cloth, Electric or Manual Adjustments? Heated Seats? Cooled Seats? 
  • Engine and Performance: Do you like a Manual or Automatic Transmission? Is Horsepower important to you? Do you need your vehicle to tow anything? What’s the Fuel Efficiency like? 
  • Safety Features: How are the crash test ratings? Do you want things like lane departure warning or brake assist? Does it have a backup camera? How many Airbags? 
  • Convenience and Comfort: Do you use cruise control? What about Adaptive Cruise Control? Power Windows? Power and Heated Mirrors? Does it have enough cup holders for your morning iced coffee and your water bottle? What about outlets to charge your phone or other devices? 
  • Infotainment and Tech Features: Do you need GPS? What about apple carplay or android auto? Does a Touch Screen Matter to you? Do you still use CDs? What about the speaker systems or surround sound? Bluetooth, Wifi or anything else you might need. 
  • Storage and Cargo Capacity: Think about features like cargo space, stow and go, trunk space, tonneau covers and box liners. 
  • Warranty: How much factory warranty, if any is left? Can you top this up with an extended warranty? What will it cover? How much is the deductible? 

One way to make selecting the right vehicle easier is scheduling a No-Obligation Options review with us via phone or email. Our vehicle specialists will review your budget, lifestyle and preferences to find you the best solutions for your specific needs. 

Make the process easier with a No Obligation Options review from VIDrives.

If you are unsure about your budget, or just want to shop knowing exactly what you can afford, get pre-approved for financing at VIDrives.ca

With a pre-approval we will provide you with personalized finance terms- for your unique situation that can help point you in the right direction when searching for your next car- and with 30+ Lending Partners, and hundreds of available vehicles we will get you the best vehicle and deal possible.