Monday, December 18

Buying The Perfect Vehicle, With Tips From an Industry Pro!

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What trips your trigger?

We’ve all been there…

Your clunker’s dying or your teenager is ready to take the wheel…you’re tired of filling your gas hog or you’re looking for a winter beater…the kids have moved out and you’re finally gonna get that convertible you’ve always wanted or there’s a new kid on the way and you need to swap your rag-top for a minivan…

Whatever the reason, we all need wheels, right?

There’s about a zillion different options out there…New or used? Certified pre-owned or AS-IS? Car, truck, van or SUV? Gas, diesel or hybrid? How do you choose? Where do you start?

It’s time to find your “hot buttons”…the things that really get your juices flowing…the key things that separate the cars that we LOVE from the pieces of crap that we wish we’d never bought. (Often times your “piece of crap” is someone else’s “love” car and vise versa.) It comes down to what you REALLY want, but as any kid with $1 in a candy store will tell you, choosing what you REALLY want can be tough!

Sounds simple, but I strongly recommend sitting down and making a list…yes, an old fashioned list. You might even use (Gasp!) a pen and paper!

Make your list…dream big, have fun…put down the KEY things that you’re looking for in your next car…use simple, descriptive, single words and let em flow until you’ve run through everything you want your new car to be. Words like: fast, roomy, reliable, red…whatever you WANT your new car to be.

What trips your trigger? Some folks love a FAST car…those same folks tend to hate their insurance agent! For the “Volvo driving soccer Mom” safety may be the key. Some of us just want a car that makes us look GOOD and some never want to pay $200 to fill the tank again.

Performance, safety, styling, reliability and fuel economy are all important considerations when you’re choosing your next car, but most of us gravitate toward ONE of those areas more strongly than others when making our choices. Look over your list. Unless you’re exceptionally well adjusted (or highly medicated) your list will probably favor one of those keywords.

Now that you’ve got a handle on your “hot button” it’s time for the hard choices…Does what you WANT have anything to do with what you NEED out of your next vehicle?

I’d love a sleek black 911 twin turbo, but my kids, insurance agent and the State Highway Patrol all think that’d be a bad choice…Most of us have to compromise, but knowing your personal “hot buttons” and working with them in mind is the first step toward finding a vehicle that is RIGHT for you!

Narrow your list and research!

Research the makes and models that catch your eye. Use the net, it’s your FRIEND and can save you a lot of headaches and CASH on this purchase!

The most comprehensive site for model reviews is Edmunds. ( Simply enter your vehicle and view professional AND actual owner’s reviews of the models that you’re considering. This site is tremendous for finding the manufacturer’s specs and for comparing various models side by side.

The best site to get a good idea of how much you can expect to pay, (and to get for your trade), is Kelly Blue Book. ( While it’s not perfect, in my experience KBB will offer very realistic, market driven values for the vehicles on your list.

Sites listing cars for sale include eBay,, and craigslist. (Don’t laugh, Craig’s is becoming a HUGE marketer for inexpensive, individually owned cars!)

Do your research, find the practical vehicle that trips your trigger, decide what you can REALISTICALLY expect to pay for the make and model you’ve decided on and then GO SHOPPING!

Best of luck!


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