How to Start Planning for Your Next Car

Whether you fell out of love for your old car or it’s just falling apart on you, maybe you’re thinking that it’s time to find a younger model. Whatever the reason, replacing it needs some planning involved – how else are you going to make the right decision?

There are just two main considerations before you get to the fun part of choosing the make and model: what your needs are, and how much can you can afford to spend. Begin by asking yourself these three simple questions:

What was wrong with my old car?

Let’s be honest, sometimes we just want an upgrade – a shinier coat, new features and mod cons, more speed, and all the nice-to-haves. But the year 2020 is all about being more budget-conscious, so instead, break it down into practical terms and ask yourself:

  • Is it comfortable for me – Do the seats adjust up and down or forwards and back enough to fit your height? Are all the knobs, buttons, and levers easily accessible? 

  • Does it suit my lifestyle – Your situation may have changed since you bought your existing car. Perhaps you were a single student towing your friends around, but now an adventurous traveller who loves to take long weekend country trips.

  • What’s missing that I wish it had – Do you kick yourself for not taking the sunroof option, or perhaps you just want more storage in the glove box. Maybe your needs are more technical, like more torque or superior suspension and handling.

  • Does it feel safe – Does it start rattling while driving at 120 km/h on the highway? Does it virtually dent if you so much as poke an elbow at it? Safety is the most important consideration, so don’t take it lightly when choosing a vehicle.

  • Do parts take too long to arrive – When the car goes in for a service or repair do you have to wait weeks before you can get it fixed? 

  • Are the parts and repairs more costly than its worth –  Do the parts have to be ordered from overseas which makes them more costly?

Take these answers and bear them in the forefront of your mind when shopping for a new car. This time around, you want to get it as close to the perfect car as possible. Remember, looks are not everything. Suitability and safety are. 

Read: Is your car costing more than its worth? 

What do I want from my next car?

Now that you know what you don’t want, it’s easier to determine what you do want. Begin with taking note of your personal and lifestyle needs, then match these with the features or benefits that should be prioritised in a list. 

For example:

I need a safer vehicle for regular highway driving – Solid construction

I need to cartloads of kids’ sports equipment around often – Bigger boot space

I must have cell phone hands-free ability – Bluetooth

I don’t want to have keep spending on high maintenance costs – Reliable, low, maintenance

This list can be as long as you need. In fact, the longer it is, the clearer the picture in your mind becomes. 

Read: Which to buy – petrol or diesel?

What can I reasonably afford on my next car?

You may want to start with this step first – calculating your budget. If it feels more comfortable knowing what you can afford before understanding your needs, that’s entirely up to you.

Before hunting down the make and model of your next car, you’ll need to look into your personal finances to determine these basic affordability figures: lump sum, deposit, monthly instalments, and monthly car insurance premiums. 

Use this online vehicle calculator to determine your monthly instalments.

Once you know what you want in a car and can afford, you’ll be suitably equipped to make the right decision on what make and model is best suited for your lifestyle and pocket. 

Read: Should I pay cash for a car?

It may be hard to say goodbye to your old car. At Auto Pedigree, we make it easy with a choice of over 4,000 makes and models to choose from. All our quality vehicles are late models with low mileage and come with stringent quality assurance for peace of mind. Find your make and model with our easy car search facility.

Disclaimer: This information is for educational, or entertainment purposes only. It must not be construed as advice, legal, financial, or otherwise. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability, and accuracy of this information. The views and opinions are those of the author and not necessarily those of Auto Pedigree.