Chapter 12: How to Buy a Car

Chapter 12: How to Buy a Car
    Chapter 12: How to Buy a Car

    Chapter 12: How to Buy a Car

    By contributing author Rex Kimball 
    Buying a big-ticket item, like a vehicle, can be daunting, especially if the buyer doesn t know where to start. This chapter offers a beginner s guide to buying a vehicle. Yet, when it comes to buying a vehicle, serious buyers will go beyond the steps described here. For example, this chapter may mention the art of negotiation, yet entire books have been written on the subject of negotiating, and increasing one s skill in negotiation will help the buyer to get a better deal. 

    One of the most important things for potential car buyers to know is that the majority of vehicles depreciate in value over time. If you purchase a new or used vehicle from a dealership, the vehicle depreciates by about 20% of the sale price the minute it is driven off the lot. That means that if you turned around and sold the vehicle within a week, you d probably only be able to sell it for about 20% less than you paid for it. It s not like buying a house where the property generally increases in value over time (except during economic decline). Vehicles are not investments; they re simply a necessary expense in locations that don t have good public transportation as an alternative. (They could be investments if you get involved in the collector s market, which is an entirely different game). 

    It is also important to realize that the cost in owning a vehicle is much more than simply the sales price of the vehicle. All expenses must be considered before accepting the burden on your monthly budget. The sales price of the vehicle is just the beginning. If you re taking out a loan to pay for the vehicle then you ll first have the monthly loan payment.  

    You ll also have to pay for gas to run the vehicle. The price of gas varies from week to week and by location. Wednesday is probably the best day of the week to buy gas. You also don t want to fill up while the service truck is at the gas station refilling the storage tanks. When they refill the tanks there are contaminants at the bottom that get stirred up and these contaminants can come through the gas pumps and into your vehicle. Granted, you learned about the fuel filter in Chapter 7, but there is no sense in wearing it out sooner than you have to. Go to and click on gas prices to find the best gas prices in your area. The amount of gas that you have to purchase from week to week will depend on how much you drive and the gas mileage of the vehicle that you purchase. 

    Gas mileage is calculated by the change in mileage divided by gallons used (or miles per gallon, MPG). The next time you go to the gas station to refuel, fill the gas tank to full and write down the mileage that appears on your odometer. Then, after you ve driven for a while, return to the gas station and fill the gas tank to full. The amount of gallons that you purchased is the amount of gas that you used from full tank to full tank after driving for that time. That number goes in the denominator of the equation. 

    to be Continued ....

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