Here at BeForward, we don’t just sell Japanese used cars. Of course, that is our main line of work, but our relationship with our buyers goes a little bit deeper than that. In the end, we really sell happiness, in spite of the saying affirming that “money can’t buy happiness.” From the moment you start looking at used cars on our stock list, we are hoping that you will find one that meets your needs and will make you happy.
It doesn’t really matter if you are looking for a family car, commuter car, work truck, or work van, because we have all of these specially designed to meet your needs at a price you can manage. The only thing is, we can’t help you if you don’t make the first steps. So how do you go about buying a car, especially if you’re a first time buyer?
We’ve asked people how they buy cars, and we’ve narrowed down their best advice to a few time-tested tips. We hope that this will be helpful when it comes time for you to make your first-car purchase. Once you make your decision, BeForward professionals are here to make the experience as pleasant as possible.
• Weigh your wants and needs – find the balance
It has been said that our needs are few, but our wants are infinite, and nowhere is this more true than when considering the many options that exist in the automotive market. Indeed, the choices can be overwhelming: front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, four-wheel drive; two, three, four, or five doors; compact, coupe, sedan, sport utility vehicle (SUV), truck, or van; four, six, or eight cylinders; manual or automatic transmission etc. This doesn’t even take into account the myriad options that are available: manual or power windows; basic or advanced stereo; navigation, roof racks, fog lights, towing packages, security systems, and the list goes on.
It may be relatively easy to just start ticking options that you “want” in a vehicle, but will it fit your “needs?” For example, a three-door hatchback might look like a fun ride, but how convenient will it be if you need regular access to the back seats? An SUV might be big enough to move your stuff if you change apartments, but does it make sense as a commuter vehicle? Perhaps most importantly, and we’ll talk about this next, can you afford what you “want” instead of just settling for what you “need?” Really, what you need to do is find a comfortable balance between the two, and happiness is assured!
• Set a reasonable budget – car, fuel, insurance, taxes, registration, parking
Once you figure out what you need to get, set a reasonable budget. Keep in mind, however, we’re not talking simply about the price of your car purchase. Don’t forget, you still have to register the car and pay taxes, and then there are the weekly running costs, such as refueling, tools, and maybe parking. All of these things depend on the kind of car you end up purchasing.
For example, a sport coupe could easily incur insurance premiums five times higher than a sedan, and an SUV could easily cost three times more to refuel than a compact commuter vehicle. Making a phone call to your insurance broker and checking fuel economy figures can go a long way toward calculating a reliable monthly cost-to-run budget.
When it comes to setting your budget, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that a “good” car is “expensive.” Really, what is a “good” car, anyway? In our book, a “good” car meets your needs, is reliable, has reasonable repair costs, and is safe. You really do not need to spend a lot of money to get a good car. You can, but you don’t have to.
• Do your research – reliability, repair costs, test drive, reviews
Considering that you are reading this article online, you are already in the right place to learn a lot about our Japanese used cars. Online, you can read up on how reliable a certain make or model is (Hint: Japanese used cars are still the most reliable used cars in the world, but you probably already knew that) and how much people like their (insert year, make, and model here). The internet is full of automobile review sites where both professionals and drivers give their input as to how certain cars stack up compared to expectations.
The one thing that you cannot do online, however, is go for a test drive. Do you have any friends, family, even neighbors, with a car like the one you are looking for? Ask if you can take a test drive (offer a couple of beers, if you have to, only don’t share them while driving). Be sure to ask how easy it is to find repair parts at a good price. If you can actually get your hands on a car, you can get a very good idea of whether it will fit your needs. If you’re tall, can you fit in the driver’s seat? How easy is it to see out of the car for merging onto a highway or for parking maneuvers? Does the engine and transmission have the power that you need? Is there enough cargo / passenger space? Taking a good test drive, as well as taking a good look at the vehicle, inside and out, and give you a good idea of how well such a car would fit into your own life.
• After the purchase – the ongoing pursuit of happiness
Hopefully, following these tips will help you to find a vehicle that fits your needs, feels right, and is enjoyable to own. Once you’ve done all your homework and spent your hard-earned money on a vehicle, however, your pursuit of happiness doesn’t end there. Make sure that, once you get your vehicle, take care of it! Look for a reliable automobile technician who uses quality parts and employs reliable repair practices. All too often, negligence on the part of the owner, or mechanic, can turn a star car into a junk car. Remember, proper maintenance is the key to vehicle longevity, reliability, and, ultimately, your happiness as a driver.