4 Step Guide to Choosing Your Next Vehicle

I can't be the only person to say this but I hate car shopping. Of course I like getting a new vehicle. I like the end result. I hate the whole process though. It's exhausting and almost enough to put me off of getting a new vehicle altogether.. 

And this is the truth considering I was driving a 98 Buick LeSabre that was barely reliable. Scratch that it definitely was not reliable. We paid $700 for it for crying out loud!

I took it to get new tires and they looked at me like I was crazy as they listed all the things they saw that were wrong with it and suggested I actually don't get tires.  Okay, so I guess it was time to get a new vehicle.

You see I also hate to spend money, and this is a pretty big expense. So the first thing you need to do when buying a new vehicle is to figure out what you're gonna get. Sounds easy right?

Step 1: Browse.  See what's out there.

First thing you should do is browse online for a little bit. But don't let yourself get all caught up in browsing and wasting time.  Just see what's our there.  Browsing is good because you might come across a few vehicles or options that you didn't know about and it will help you get an idea of what you might want. 

Step 2: Decide on your must have features.  Narrow it down. 

Now that you've looked at dozens or hundreds (or more) vehicles and vehicle options, you should have some kind of idea of what you want.  Maybe it's something as simple and broad as "an SUV" or maybe your needs are more specific.  I think the more specific you can be, the better.  For me that meant I wanted:
  • AWD or 4WD
  • Leather interior
  • SUV or crossover (would consider a van though)
  • Third row or optional third row seating
  • Gas mileage at 22MPG or higher
And other options (like Hybrid) I checked and unchecked just to see what I could find.

Step 3: Plug your needs into a search engine.

Once you've decided on the options then you can put these options into various search engines, my favorite being used car websites (such as AutoTrader, UsedCars.com, etc).  If you know what you must have in your next vehicle and you plug those options in, it'll eliminate the stress of sifting through all the ads for vehicles you don't want or that don't meet your needs.  Like I said, the more specific you can be the better!

Step 4: Find your perfect ride!

Now that you've narrowed down your listings, you've hopefully found one or more options of your ideal vehicle and can locate one within a reasonable distance from you.  Thanks to my specifications, I ended up with a Toyota Highlander Hybrid (Limted & 4WD).  I did have to drive 2.5 hours to look at it and then back again to purchase it, but it was well worth it!

What would you add to this list, if anything?  What was the last vehicle your purchased?  Was it love or do you wish you would have chosen something else?
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