Purchasing a vehicle is not a decision taken lightly, especially if you have a large family. Since you have many people to accommodate, you probably need a bigger vehicle, such as a van. On average, vans cost more than sedans, so before making the purchase, do your research to ensure you make an educated decision. Below are five factors to evaluate before signing on the dotted line.
The cost of the van is the first factor to look at. Sit down with your spouse and determine exactly how much money you can put down and how much you can afford to spend on the van each month. Do not forget you need car insurance, so factor the monthly payments for both the car and insurance into your budget. If you are nervous thinking about the extra cost of insurance, there are cheap car insurance options available, so do not be disheartened!
A used van will probably be cheaper than a new van, so going this route may save money if you are on a tight budget. Just make sure the vehicle has a thorough and clean vehicle history report. This report gives you details on the history of the car, including accidents and reoccurring problems. If you find a van for a great price but with lots of documented engine problems, it is probably not worth it. You will likely end up paying more in the end.
Since you have a large family, the size of the van is another key factor. Maybe a basic six or seven seats will suffice. Maybe you need something larger, like a conversion van. Maybe you need something with a lot of trunk space to haul all the stuff your kids need for their extracurricular activities.
Whatever your space requirements, fully research the vehicle's seating and space options. You can remove the seats in many vans, giving you more space if you are transporting large items. Ask the salesman what the seating capabilities are and have him walk you through exactly how to remove them. Test drive the van with the family to make sure everyone fits comfortably. This also gives you the opportunity to pinpoint any seating concerns before buying.
If saving money is your bottom line, you probably do not care much about the accessories and additional features. However, as there are so many add-ons to vehicles these days, it is important to narrow down which are imperative and which you can live without.
For example, if you drive long distances often, cruise control is a feature you want included. If you live in a state where temperatures fall below freezing every year, you may want to invest in seat warmers. If your kids are younger, having built-in televisions or DVD players might be worth the extra expense for some quieter trips. Whatever your preference, determine exactly what features are must-haves before heading to the dealership.
A van's safety rating is important regardless of who owns the vehicle, but it is especially important when you have a large family that is constantly in the van. Before even going to a dealership, familiarize yourself with the vans' safety ratings. These can be found on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website. You simply need to enter the vehicle's make, year and model.
If you intend to purchase a used automobile, look at the mileage before you buy. If you want the van to last 10 years but it already has close to 100,000 miles on it, look for an option with lower mileage. The higher the mileage, the more money you will need to put into the van to keep it running.
Choosing the perfect van for your family is a big decision. Before making your final choice, review each of these factors. Doing so helps ensure you purchase the best vehicle for you and your family.