Buying a new vehicle can be an overwhelming process. With so many great deals and makes and models to choose from it can be complicated to know exactly what you should be looking for. How can you be certain that the car you have your eye on is the right car for your life? It can take a lot of research before you narrow down your focus.
Sure, you can go to car lots and take a lot of test drives, but just looking at parked cars and a short drive may not tell you all you need to know about the cars you’re interested in. Luckily, in today’s world, there are many ways to research cars to learn about the benefits and possible negatives of any model.
If you’re looking for great ways to be creative and really find out whether a car is right for you, here are four ways to go beyond Kelley Blue Book and other popular research methods for some honest information.
Try A Rental
Test drives can be great to get a feel for a vehicle and its abilities but they don’t give you a chance to see if a car will be the right match for your personal circumstances. What better way to see how a car fits your lifestyle than to rent one? Find the same make and model you’re interested in purchasing and rent the car for a week or two.
Renting is better than a test drive because you can explore a car and it’s potential without a dealership representative sitting with you for a shorter drive. A rental period should give you enough time to figure out if a car will work for you and your family.
For instance, if you have your heart set on a particular minivan and then find out you cannot install the car seats you need properly in that minivan you can continue your search elsewhere. The same goes for any necessary sporting equipment you use on a regular basis. Living with a car for a week or two will help you figure out if it’s the right match.
There are certain things you can figure out by renting a car including whether or not a vehicle fits in your garage that a test drive just doesn’t offer. Sure, a rental may not be in the exact color you’d prefer, nor may it have all of the interior features you could opt into. However, a rental can give you a great idea of what owning may look like for you.
Maybe you have been saving for years for your dream car. However, a big-ticket purchase can come with regret if it’s not the right fit. Renting a luxury car can give you the information you need before splurging a ton on your dream vehicle.
Dig Into Internet Forums
People on the internet often say things they wouldn’t say in person. While this can be challenging with some issues, it can be incredibly helpful when purchasing a car. Searching Reddit forums to find honest reviews about a car you’re interested in is a great way to find out more information.
If the feedback is generally positive that can be a great sign that your research is paying off and you’ve picked a great car. If a lot of people are saying the same thing negatively about a specific feature or issue, that can be something you can either used to negotiate a lower price or choose a different car to focus on altogether.
There are many places online where you can ask for advice and get real-time feedback on a specific make and model. Don’t just trust the Carfax or what Car and Driver has to say. Remember that if a company is being paid for their opinion there is a chance of bias.
These options are good starting points but using other resources for their thoughts and reviews can give you a more complete picture of what a car has to offer. Getting feedback from others who own the vehicle you’re looking at is a great way to actually see what owning that car could be like.
Use YouTube Videos
If you can’t find a rental, see if someone has made a review of the car on YouTube. Videos are a great way to see inside a car and hear an owner’s opinions and feedback about a particular car. Maybe they love a specific feature that you’re curious about. While many newer cars have review videos on YouTube, there are plenty of older models that do not.
If a car doesn’t have review videos there’s a good chance there are several how-to-videos with repair tips. A lot of minor repairs are easy to do with the help of a YouTube video, such as replacing a headlight bulb. These videos can help as a sort of backward research to understand a car’s reputation.
For instance, if there are many videos talking about a door latch problem you can make a note. Maybe that problem doesn’t seem like a big deal to you, or perhaps it will completely change your mind about a car. It’s up to you to decide what kind of issues you can handle when it comes to your new car and YouTube can help you make an informed decision.
With the sheer number of people visiting the site, there’s bound to be some helpful feedback on the videos. While many people choose to ignore the comment sections of articles and videos for their own sanity, check out what people are saying on the videos on YouTube. If a video has a ton of negative comments about a car not being great, there’s a good chance they’re on to something.
It can be difficult to trust strangers on the internet for information on buying a car but comment sections on review videos can be enlightening as to whether the car you’ve got your eye on has a good reputation or not. A little time spent reading comments and watching a video could help you save a lot of heartache in buying the wrong car.
Ask A Mechanic
No one knows which cars have a reputation for excellence better than your local mechanic. If you have a car guru in your life that you trust, sit down and ask for their opinion on the car you’ve been looking at. They can give you insight into whether that car has a known issue or will especially difficult to repair.
There are some cars for sale that have specialized parts that aren’t easy to obtain. If this is the case a mechanic can let you know before you buy a car. Maybe you don’t mind having a rare car that could prove to be expensive and slow to repair going forward, or maybe that is a deal-breaker for you.
Because mechanics are familiar with a wide range of vehicles they may also be able to give you a great suggestion for a car that suits your needs. Compare information from a mechanic with your other research. Verify their thoughts to make the best possible informed decision before you are locked into a purchase.
A Final Thought
Only you can decide which information is relevant to your car purchase, but gathering as much information as possible can be a great way to not end up with buyer’s remorse. While there are obvious methods of checking out information about cars, sometimes digging deeper with these creative information gathering ideas can give you more insight into the best car for you.
Renting a car and doing in-depth research can help you to find a car that will match up with your lifestyle. Buying a car can be a big deal and an expensive purchase so it’s always best to have the most information possible before you make a final decision and sign the papers. You’ll never regret taking the time and using unique research options for your car purchase.