Camille Bérubé, Student Director Media and Marketing Relations, Georgian College Auto Show
There’s no doubt that the idea of shopping for a new vehicle can seem stressful, but the experience should not be; not if you’re well prepared. Considering that buying a vehicle is the second largest purchase you’ll make in your lifetime (buying a house coming in first place), it is extremely important to think about the following points so that you can be prepared and make an informed decision.
1. What attributes are most important to you?
With so many options on the market, it is essential that you determine what attributes are important to you. If you’re having trouble deciding, consider what features make your driving experience satisfying. Is it safety? Cargo space? Fuel efficiency?
2. What is the intended use of the vehicle you’re buying and what are your plans for the future?
Although cars can serve many different purposes, it is important that you pin down the most important ones. Think about your plans for the future, so that your car can grow with you. For instance, if you’re planning on expanding your family in the near future, you might want to consider a vehicle with more than two seats and additional cargo space.
Also, think of whether your vehicle will be making trips up to the cottage, filled with camping gear or used in the winter. In that event, you’ll want to consider a vehicle with great towing capacity and all-wheel drive.
3. How often do you plan on using the vehicle?
Since fuel efficiency can impact your wallet, it can be helpful to determine how often you are going to use this vehicle. Is it going to be your daily driver? If so, what distance per day are you going to travel? And is your daily drive mainly in the city or on the highway?
4. What is your intended ownership of the vehicle?
Once you have identified the different features and characteristics needed, think about your intended ownership of the vehicle. Are you going to finance, lease or purchase the vehicle outright? How many years do you plan on keeping the vehicle? Depending on your circumstances, you may want to consider adding extended warranty and coverage packages, such as appearance or mechanical breakdown protection.
5. What brands do you find most appealing? Which ones suit your needs?
Once all of the above has been reflected upon, take your time to consider the brands that are most appealing to you and educate yourself on the products that meet your needs and wants. Even though a sports car might appeal to you, it might not be the best choice for a family vehicle.
Read online forums and take advantage of all the tools and information available to you online prior to selecting the brands and vehicles you want to test drive.
6. What dealership offers the best customer service?
Once you have identified the few vehicles you wish to test-drive, conduct online research about the nearby dealerships of the brands you selected.
Visit more than one dealership of the selected brands, as you want to buy from the dealerships where customer service is optimal. See how people at the dealership treat you, as this will tell a lot about the future service you will get following the purchase. Walk by the service department of the dealerships you visit and see how well it runs, how many people are waiting, how the employees interact with the customers and their peers.
Important legal tip: ensure that you buy from a registered OMVIC dealer. Make sure there are no hidden fees on the price listed. Visit the OMVIC website to get all the information you need on consumers’ rights and dealers’ obligations. You may also want to look-up the complaints tab to see if any complaints or fines were emitted to the dealerships you have selected.
7. How much will your insurance payments be?
One other thing you may want to consider before purchasing a new vehicle is the difference in insurance payments. Depending on the model year, trim level and price of the vehicle, your insurance premium may go up or down.
Want to visit multiple automotive manufacturers in one place?
Stop by the Georgian College Auto Show from May 31 to June 2 to see booths from a variety of manufacturers, in a no-pressure, sales-pitch free environment. This dog-friendly show also has great exhibitors, food and fun for the whole family. Don’t miss out!