A Vehicle Should Provide Enjoyment, Not Another Mortgage
By Kyle Busch
What enables people to be on time for a scheduled appointment, attend a
favorite social event or recreational activity, or just drive on a pleasant
summer day? What machine do many people get to know as if it were almost a
member of the family?
What enables drivers to experience greater freedom? Of course, what else
but the automobile. Or in today's terms: the automobile, sport-utility
vehicle, or minivan.
More and more people are realizing that the cost of new transportation can
really throw a budget into reverse.
Since dependable transportation is a necessity-do not despair; a two to
four-year old used vehicle can be purchased at a savings of 25 to 50 percent
as compared to its cost when new. Additionally, the number of well-built,
dependable vehicles has increased during the past decade.
When well maintained these vehicles can be driven for many miles, and they
are now available at substantial savings. The purchase of a dependable,
reasonably priced used vehicle is not a matter of chance or luck, but
rather, it is a matter of knowledge and understanding.
Gathering Information: Literally hundreds of different vehicles are
available, but which one is the best for you? To better determine the
vehicle that satisfies your transportation needs, first take the time to
carefully identify your current and future driving needs, then become aware
of the many available vehicles, and finally, zero in on the vehicles that
best meet your needs.
Some questions to consider about transportation needs include:
- How many people will be transported in the vehicle?
- What type of objects and cargo will be transported in the vehicle (space
- Will driving be conducted in poor weather conditions or off-road
(rear-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, all- wheel drive)?
- Will stop-and-go or interstate driving be performed? Thus, is an
automatic, a semi-automatic, or a standard transmission preferred?
- Is there a preference for a domestic or a foreign vehicle?
- In a sport-utility vehicle, is a more rugged full box type frame needed
for off-road driving, or will a unit-body type frame be suitable for
intended general highway driving? Additionally, what towing capacity should
the sport-utility vehicle have?
- In a minivan, are sliding doors needed on both sides, the left-side or
the right-side of the vehicle for easier entry and exit?
- How much will insurance cost to protect the driver and the vehicle
(consider obtaining an insurance quote before buying a vehicle)?
- What is the approximate amount of money to be spent on a vehicle?
If you are not familiar with which vehicles meet your transportation
needs, visit a local public library to consult the April (vehicle) issue of
"Consumer Reports." This objective information source provides technical
specifications for vehicles including the size, weight, engine horsepower,
optional equipment, and miles per gallon of fuel, etc.
After determining the type of automobile, sport-utility vehicle, or
minivan that satisfies your needs, it is worthwhile to consult "Consumer
Reports'" frequency-of-repair information to identify specific vehicles that
will likely have fewer future repairs.
Web discussion groups are also a good source of "from the street"
information for identifying the strengths and weaknesses of specific
In addition to becoming informed about particular vehicles, it is
worthwhile to learn the approximate prices for vehicles of interest. To
obtain a general idea of vehicle prices, consult the current monthly edition
of the "N.A.D.A. Official Used Car Guide" at a public library, bank, or
Vehicle price information can also be obtained by consulting the vehicle
classified sections of major newspapers at a public library. This is a
convenient way to get a read on future prices, because vehicle price trends
usually begin in major cities and then progress to other areas of the