Buying A Car In Tough Times

Collaborative post(AD) – All opinions and comments are my own.

I am looking for a new car because mine is getting old and starting to cost more to keep going. Right now I am awaiting my annual service and expect a hefty bill as I know my suspension is very clunky and my air-con needs cleaning and refilling. During an energy crisis, we are all having to make difficult decisions about where to put our hard earned cash. Buying a car may be a better option than constantly fixing an older model.

Where to start?

Now I never said it had to be a new car! There are two popular options when it comes to getting a new auto. Some take loan cars which they can swap in after three years. Many prefer to buy a second hand car, using finance, on reasonable terms. This article on Bloomberg highlights used cars as the favoured option for thousands of drivers. Who can blame them?

My last car was a Ford and had been used by a previous owner. It gave me six years of stability whereas my previous ‘new bought’ cars gave me no end of problems with problematic gear boxes and struggling batteries. There is a lot to be said for second hand cars which have been lovingly cared for.

For my US readers…

Trying to work out how much you can afford to spend on a car is tricky. There are a lot of factors to take into account and you need to make sure you are not stretching your finances too far. This is especially important right now, during an economic crisis where energy prices are surging.

Also, when thinking about getting a new car, you have to have unexpected expenses in the back of your head. Let’s face it, you can drive it off the forecourt and soon find yourself inadvertently driving over a nail or having to swerve to avoid a chicken crossing the road.

Unforeseen costs include:

– tyre repairs or new tyres

– broken exhausts

– minor repairs or touch ups to paint work

– oil leeks

– suspension problems

– battery issues

– electrical faults

Now I have come across a really good website which is used to calculate how much you can afford to spend on a new car. It provides a really easy-to-use calculator to estimate car payments where you can input the price of car you want or work backwards by selecting the monthly amount you are prepared to pay for your loan.

Photo from my iPad.

I played around with various US sites and can honestly say this is one of the most flexible sites with so many options. You can soon hone in on the aspects you need to tightly control, such as down payment size or monthly payments upper limit.

There is also a fun arcade where you can play games related to driving such as the Cars Lightening Speed game which I found fun and unexpected on a calculator website. I love refreshing touches like this.

For my UK readers:

Working out affordability in the UK, I have tried many websites and actually found a bank calculator most useful. After playing around with a few, I can truly recommend Halifax car payment calculator which is very user friendly and organised. Although it leans towards that particular bank, it is really clear, easy to play around with and straight forward.

Summary

My car is costing me a lot all of a sudden, due to some really badly maintained roads near me, which are ruining my suspension, amongst other things. We are all on the same boat when it comes to financial demands caused by international energy shortages and rising inflation.

I am no financial expert but can truly recommend using a good online calculator to work out your car affordability. This is the best way to begin your journey to finding a new car.