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7 Things Parents Should Know Before Buying a Family Car

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Buying a car is a tough financial decision in and of itself. Buying one for the whole family? That adds another dimension of stress to the equation. The vehicle chosen must be affordable, reliable, and safe. On top of that, the style has to jive with the whole family. To ease you into this decision and to ensure you’re getting the best bang for your buck, here some things every parent should know before buying a family car.

family car with family sitting in it

What is the Budget

The first factor that will determine your future car: your budget. For many new families, buying a car has to be budgeted into saving for college, saving for retirement, and trying to eke out enough for a vacation in the next year. When determining how much to spend, keep in mind that this car will be tasked with transporting your family safely. If there’s ever a time to spend a little extra to upgrade the safety features, now is that time.

Before Buying a Family Car- Will Teens Be Driving It?

Look, we all love and trust our children, but we also know their downfalls. Teens are newer to driving, worse at parking, and generally more timid drivers. If your children are going to be driving the car, it’s safe to expect some bumper damage, or maybe a scratch or two on the sides.

But, hey, were any of us perfect when we were teenagers?

To Buy Used or Not to Buy Used

That is the question. If your budget affords a brand-new car, then sure, go ahead and get the ride of your dreams. For some of us, we’re wondering if that car on the side of the road with no tires and a $1 sign still comes with airbags or not. All joking aside, before buying a family car think about the fact that buying used can be a smart way to save money financially and still come away with a reliable car for the whole family. For used cars, here are some helpful tips:

  • Always test drive the vehicle
  • Negotiate for a lower price
  • Check out reviews and manufactural problems
  • Read through the vehicle history report

Some brands are known for longevity and make for better-used cars. If you can find an older BMW or buy a used Volkswagen, you can be confident you’re getting a quality family car that will be enjoyed for years to come.

How Much Junk in the Trunk?

Family outings are an incredible way to bond with your family. Ski trips, camping on the beach, and cross-country road trips provide cherished memories for years to come. With this in mind, it’s important that you have the necessary trunk space for all your adventures. Or ensure that the car you choose can support a rack if you want to buy a new Thule.

family riding inside family car

Compact, Mid-size, or Minivan

Another key ingredient to finding the right family car is the number of seats. Ask yourself if you want to be the parents who drive the kids and their friends to the beach on weekends. For this, a large SUV would do the trick. However, if there’s only three of you, a compact car will save you bundles on gas.

Check Safety Ratings Before Buying a Family Car

One of the most important things to consider before buying a family car is safety. When it comes to your family, nothing is more important than their safety. Every year, companies compete for the safest vehicle, giving parents a wide selection of cars to choose from. Using the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as a resource, you can search for any make, model, and year to view their safety rating. Out of five stars, the NHTSA provides insight into how the car handles side impacts, frontal impacts, and rollovers.

Does The Car Have Cupholders?

This might seem silly, but the question speaks to a larger theme. The fact of the matter is this car is for the whole family. Grocery trips and the day-to-day minutia will all take place in this vehicle. Having the simplest amenities like cupholders, automatic doors, a quality air conditioning system, or a TV screen installed in the backseat for the little ones will only be noticed if the car omits them.

Making the Final Purchase

You’ve done your homework. You’ve compared brands, vehicles, and mileage. All that’s left to do is make that final purchase. If you get cold feet now, know that that’s perfectly normal. You just want what’s best for your family. Signing the paperwork and buying a car is like diving into an icy river. Sometimes, the only way to do it is to take a deep breath and plunge ahead. Take some comfort in the fact that you put in the hard work and trust yourself.

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