9 Essential Questions To Ask Yourself Before Buying A Family Car


buying a car

Buying a car for yourself and buying a car for your whole family are two completely different things. If you’re buying a car for yourself then you can afford to be a little selfish, but when it comes to buying a car for family use, you need to be much smarter. The stakes are far higher when making a purchase like this, as you need to ensure the safety and well being of your family at all times. Making good choices is imperative for a happy family life. Whether you’re going to be taking your kids to after school activities or going on road trips, making the right decisions regarding your car cannot be emphasized enough.

Let’s take a look at some essential questions that you’ll need to ask yourself before you buy a family car:

Question 1: Is This Car Safe Enough For My Family?

Before you even consider the aesthetics of a car, you need to make sure it’s safe enough for your family. Doing research on various models and their safety is something you need to make time for before you head to a car dealership. This means not only taking a look at NHTSA and IIHS crash safety ratings, but making sure that the car is equipped with safety features that will make a big difference. Just some of the safety features you should look for include:

  • lane departure warning,
  • blind spot warning
  • adaptive cruise control with auto brake

These features are worth investing in, so look out for them and make a list of any other features you’d like to have on top of this.

Question 2: How Big Is My Family?

If your family is fairly young, then you may need to overbuy. However, overbuying does not mean overspending, and that’s an important distinction to make. Overbuying will allow for family expansion later on, as let’s face it, you never know what could happen in 5 years! You don’t want to have to go through the grueling process of finding a safe family car all over again. A family with one child will look for a car that is very different to a family who have several children. You need to bear in mind that your children are going to age and get bigger as you drive this car, and that you may end up with more children, and even pets. Planning for these changes will help you to avoid further expenses.

Question 3: Where Do We Live?

The environment your family lives in can make a difference to the kind of car you look at purchasing, too. If every winter is icy and snowy, or you seem to have more wet days than sunny days, you’ll need to look for cars that can work with that. For example, a rainy or snowy climate will work well with a four wheel drive or all wheel drive. Of course you’ll also need to consider the type of vehicle that will fit in your driveway or garage, so don’t purchase a huge SUV if you don’t have anywhere to put it.

Question 4: How Do We Like To Spend Our Time?

Now consider how your family enjoys spending time, or how you’ll likely enjoy spending time in the future. For example, going skiing together requires that you are able to transport a lot of equipment. Or if you’re a little league coach, and you tend to take members of the team to events, you’ll need something with a lot of room.

Question 5: How Much Can We Realistically Afford?

If you’re going to buy the ideal car and take care of your family’s financial health at the same time, you need to make sure you understand the purchase and how much you can comfortably pay. Dealers want you to spend as much money as possible on a vehicle, and they don’t really care whether it’s right for you or too much for you or not. They’re great at convincing you it’s the right thing to do, so knowing how much you can afford beforehand will really work in your favor. Make sure you don’t end up with a purchase that means you have to live beyond your means for a while. You can to consider things like how much you have saved, your income, whether anything could happen to affect your income, what you’ll do if there’s an emergency.

buying a car

Question 6: What Is Important To Your Family?

Make sure you consider what is truly important to you when it comes to purchasing your family car. Do you want a vehicle name that you know you can trust, or do you care more about the functional aspects of the vehicle? Bear in mind that there are lots of vehicles out there that aren’t luxury brands but do offer great style, equipment, and safety perfect for families.

Question 7: Have I Done Enough Research Before Going Into This Dealership?

You can’t simply walk into a dealership without truly doing your research first. Unless you want to walk out with a deal that just isn’t right for you, that is! You need to make sure you have a rough estimate on what you can afford. You also need to be aware of a few models that could be right for your family before going in. Read up on expert reviews of current vehicles, consumer owner reviews, and know your current car’s value for trade in purposes. Knowing these things will give you a better idea of what you should take home with you and how much you should pay for it. Top 10 lists and other similar lists can easily help you to narrow down your search if you look at enough of them. On these lists you’ll find Volvo models and similar cars that are reliable and suitable for families.

Question 8: Should I Accept This Deal?

When you’ve gone to a dealership and you’re looking at vehicles for your family, and you’re armed with all of the information we’ve told you to look at here, you’ll likely be treated as a special customer by the dealer. They want your business, and they will more than likely respect your understanding of the key ingredients of the deal. If you can’t come to a reasonably quick deal with the dealer, then one of two things is happening. Either your own research has led you astray, or the dealer is being unreasonable. It’s totally fine to take a step back and think about things. Walk away if you don’t like what you hear, or you’re unsure of it. There will be more cars and more deals tomorrow, and you might even get a call from this dealer with a better offer.

buying a car

If you do end up coming to an agreement with the dealer on the price, trade in deal, and financing, you’ll probably end up being introduced to a different member of staff to put the paperwork through. This is where you have to be absolutely vigilant that the terms of your deal are going to be kept exactly as they are. Make sure you pay close attention to the sales contract, and question everything you’re unsure about, especially things that seem to require you to pay more money than you’d like to pay. Some things, like license fees and sales tax are the norm, but other things on there are not and could easily be snuck into the deal. It’s still not too late to walk away at this point. Don’t feel pressured into accepting a deal that you don’t feel is right for you.

Question 9: What Else Can I Learn About My New Vehicle?

When it’s time for your new car to be delivered, take the time to learn how everything in the car works. Many people end up buying expensive optional equipment in their vehicle and never learn how it works! Take the time to learn about navigation and entertainment systems, as these can be especially complicated. Imagine; you’re going on vacation with your family, your kids are getting bored of the scenery, and you can’t get the expensive in-car entertainment system working properly. The one that helped you make your mind up about buying the car in the first place!

It’s absolutely crucial to be clear on how to use things like adaptive cruise control, too. They could end up saving your life, so don’t go anywhere without being sure on how to use them.

When you use the questions and advice outlined here, selecting the right vehicle for your family and getting the best deal imaginable should be a breeze. You shouldn’t be frightened when you walk into a dealer, but you should be very careful. A bonus tip? Going car shopping with the whole family, including the kids can be a fun bonding experience! Take them and have fun. They’ll feel like they’ve had a say in the car and you’ll all enjoy it more, especially when it comes to road trips and vacations.


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