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Seven Days: Vermont Car Blog

October 14, 2008

How To Buy A New Or Used Car Or Truck

This is the first in a series of posts on how to buy a new or used car. Yes the economy is in rough shape and yes the auto industry has been taking a beating lately. The good news is that if you need to buy a new or used car or truck there are opportunities to find good deals out there.

First you need to figure out what you need. If you just go out and start shopping you’re liable to end up with a car that doesn’t meet your needs. There are a number of considerations you should take into account.

Chrysler_town_country When we recently replaced my wife’s vehicle here are some of the things we thought about before we started looking around.

Living Creatures
Our kids are grown up and living their own lives at 21 & 24 so we didn’t need our Chrysler Town & Country minivan anymore. It had the capacity to seat 7 people. We do still occasionally all ride together, for instance to concerts in Montreal or Bruin’s games in Boston, and sometimes there’s an extra friend tagging along. So we decided we needed the ability to haul 5 adults comfortably for up to 4 hours.

Do you have large dogs? In some instances our 90 lb. lab Arlo and two small terriers needed to fit into the same car we were hauling those five adults in. The terriers could fit at our feet or in our laps if necessary. Arlo needed his own space. We brought each vehicle home and gave Arlo his own test drive. To meet our (his) needs it was necessary that he could get in under his own power and then have enough room to be comfortable.

Volvo_c30 Utility
Play in a band? Or do you haul large recreational items like skis or tents & coolers? Will they fit in a large trunk? Be sure to test fit anything you want to haul around with you. Also consider a roof rack. You might be fine with a smaller vehicle if your gear would fit on the roof. Figure in an extra $500 for a roof rack with carrier if you go this route.

Do you need to tow anything? If you have a boat, snowmobile or utility trailer you will need a vehicle that has a tow kit and the power to move whatever you’re towing.

Efficiency and/or Performance
Are you interested in reducing your carbon footprint and saving money on gas? The same car that you have determined meets your size requirements might come with a choice of 4, 6 or 8-cylinders. Are you more about performance or efficiency? If efficiency is very important consider one of the many hybrid models now available. Seven Days Auto Finder has the ability to just search for cars that get 30 mpg or better.

Mini Personal Expression
Maybe you don’t care what your car looks like, but let’s face it, no matter what you think, the rest of the world sees your car as an extension of your personality. What kind of car are you? Sporty, luxurious, thrifty, cute or tough as nails?

So that’s where to start your quest. Did I miss anything? What other things would you consider important?

On Thursday we’ll compare the value of  new versus used vehicles.

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