Monday, July 15, 2024 Detailed Auto Topics
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Buying a vehicle is a big decision and a gamble.  New or used, risks are still a part of the equation.  Many current vehicles have inherent problems, from poor design, excessive complexity and low-quality components.  Often, a well inspected, used-vehicle is far less problematic.

The careful purchase of a vehicle requires a considerable amount of time.  Allow at least a month and perhaps longer with a used vehicle.  The most common reason people buy inappropriate vehicles is a lack of time.  This is a very expensive mistake.  Being rushed puts the buyer at a disadvantage.

Proper maintenance prevents breakdowns, the primary reason for emergency vehicle replacement.  An annual inspection also keeps the owner informed of pending failure.  Knowing the condition of a present vehicle allows planning for replacement, well ahead of need.

The new-vehicle  purchase

The monthly note can be a burden on the family budget

Paying far more for anything, than it is worth, is not a logical act.  This is seldom truer than with the purchase of a new vehicle.  Most cars lose 50% or more of their value in the first three years, because they initially overprice them.  To make sales, dealerships rely on emotion rather than logic.  Emotional decisions are based on want, and not what the buyer needs.  We may want a shinny red; V-8 powered sports-car, but need reliable transportation.


If an adult wants a new car, and can afford it, they need no other reason

This includes buying a new vehicle.  Making such a choice, means the responsibilities of the decision are the buyers, wise or not.  Every repair shop operator sees the consequences of folks who buy vehicles they cannot afford to maintain.  Such a perspective is the basis of this article, which I hope dispels some untruths.

Define needs before shopping

The best thing a person may do is to define their needs, before looking for a vehicle to purchase.  For instance, if we need a four-door sedan, looking at two-door coupes makes no sense.  Best is to put your list of needs in writing and then set priorities.  "Must-have" items are at the top and things less important descend from there.

With an ordered list of needs, look on the internet for models that meet the criterion.  Write out a list of possible models and compare features to your needs.  Have your regular mechanic give their insight on the service histories.  A short list of the models that meet your needs should remain.

Control emotions

buying decisions can be logical or emotional

Automobile purchasing is an emotional affair.  Often, salespeople show models with the highest profit margin, rather than what the client needs.  This severely clouds the issue and normally results in spending much more than intended.  Refuse to look at anything that is not on your list.  

Switching the decision, from the lowest price on what I need, to which feature can I get for a set monthly payment, is a favorite tactic of salespeople.  Do not fall for it.

Car companies care about sales

Most of the price of a new vehicle is unrelated to what the buyer gets.  Healthcare for the auto workers is much of the cost.  Advertising and Government compliance also adds heavily.  Such items add significant costs, yet offer little value to the purchaser.  This is one reason for their huge loss in value when traded.

Built in problems

Manufacturers spend billions on advertising, to convince the public that new vehicles are problem-free.  This is not so.  Ford's six-liter diesel is an example.  Many owners spend $5,000 to $15,000 on well documented pattern-failures.  Some shops specialize in this one engine and make a good living.  This is not an isolated incidence.  Many modern designs are just not carefully thought out and can give repeated trouble.

Vehicles cost money to buy and to maintain

The race to outdo competitors with technology, also grossly inflates the price and the long-term expense of the vehicle.  In-dash navigation systems are very attractive.  They may also cost several thousand dollars to repair. High intensity headlights can easily cost $2000 to replace and fail in 50,000 miles.  Actuators in the dash enable several high-tech functions.  They also require dash removal when they inevitably fail.

Many people purchase expensive extended warranties to try to avoid repair costs.  This simply adds to the burden of owning the vehicle.  The price of the warranty includes the likely repairs and profit for the warranty company.  Cutting the costs of claims, is a key to survival of the company issuing the policy.  Exclusions and expirations ensure that the warranty company wins.

Why a new vehicle?

Buying a new vehicle is easier than finding a great used vehicle.  Car companies go to great lengths to make the process as easy as possible.  For folks with very limited time, a new purchase may be the only choice.  Another good reason, is that you just want a new vehicle.

This does not mean all new vehicles are problematic. Every manufacturer has models that offer better service and those that or not as well built.  Time is the truest guide in judging dependability.  Viewing the tests of time, is an advantage for the used car buyer and the topic of our next Detailed Topic.

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