With well over two hundred million cars on the road in the USA, chances are, most people you know own a vehicle. And that makes sense! After all, public transit has its limits when it comes to accommodating commutes and people have to be able to get to work, school, and other places.
Here’s the deal though – While cars are great, several people buy cars while operating on vehicle ownership myths that later come back to surprise them. To avoid being in that camp, our team shares a handful of first-time car buyer misconceptions that’ll help you become a smart car owner.
Ready to raise your vehicle IQ? If you are, keep reading to learn more!
1. You Can Afford Your Car If You Can Afford Its Payment
When you’re trying to determine what kind of car you can get yourself into, one of the first things you’ll look to is your car’s payment. Can you afford $200 per month? $300?
If you can make the payment on the car you’re hoping to buy, hit the breaks before signing on the dotted line. Car payments scratch the surface of what you’ll pay to operate your vehicle. There are rates for auto insurance you’ll have to cover, maintenance, gas, tickets, and more you’ll be managing which can easily double your car’s cost.
Can you afford to double your car payment? If you can’t, we recommend getting a cheaper car.
2. Cars Build Value As They Become Classic
There’s a growing idea that if you buy relatively contemporary vehicles and hold onto them for long enough, they’ll earn the status of being “classic” and that status will drive up value. That assumption is wrong nearly 100% of the time.
There are tons of classic cars out there yet only a few are classic and in-demand. That in-demand status is what makes a car’s value swell, not your car’s age.
With that in mind, if you’re not planning on holding onto your car for long, don’t force yourself to do so with the hope that it’ll be worth more 5 or 10 years from now. It probably won’t be.
3. If You Keep Your Car in Great Condition, You Can Extract Its Full Value
Let’s say you buy a car for $10,000, make $4,000 in payments on it, and are then looking to sell it. In a perfect world, you could sell the car for at least $6000 so you won’t be upside-down on your purchase.
One of the most common vehicle ownership myths is that if you keep your car in good condition it’s a given you’ll be able to cash out your car’s full value. Unfortunately, that’s not what the market has shown us.
It can be hard to keep from going upside-down on your vehicle sale, even when you take good care of your car. It’s certainly not impossible but demand will dictate whether or not you come out on top.
4. Bigger Cars are Safer
Just because your car is big doesn’t mean that your car is safe. A big car could have limited airbags, will be top-heavy which induces rolls, may have poor handling, and several other issues.
On the flip side, small, contemporary vehicles could have cutting-edge safety technology which significantly reduces a driver’s risk of getting into an accident and/or being seriously injured in an accident.
Bottom line, don’t gauge your chances of road safety on size. Do your research, look into safety ratings, and make a data-based call.
5. Full Self-Driving Cars Are Around the Corner
The technology that’ll fuel full self-driving car’s ability to work is out there and is being showcased by carmakers like Tesla. A future, however, where you can hop in your car and take a nap while being whisked away to your destination is way off.
Self-driving vehicles create a lot of hard questions for insurers and many difficult questions when it comes to legal liability in courts. Because of that, you can expect insurers to steer clear of covering a full self-driving smart car owner and communities downright banning full self-driving until the adoption of high-tech cars becomes more prevalent.
6. Frequent Tune-Ups Are a Necessity
It certainly doesn’t hurt to get your tires rotated, spark plugs checked, and your oil looked at every 3000 miles. Is doing so integral to your car’s ability to operate, though? Most people will tell you no.
Car manufacturers have made a business out of performing routine maintenance and we’ve seen over the years maintenance schedules become more aggressive and costly.
There are several reasons why you might choose to abide by your manufacturer’s maintenance schedule. Just don’t let fear of your car breaking down because you missed an appointment be one of them.
7. Your Car Is Covered for Tens of Thousands of Miles
To drive up auto sales, several car manufacturers have offered aggressive warranties to accompany their new vehicles. While warranties are great, know there are several ways that your manufacturer can deny you coverage. One of the primary ways is missing an appointment for maintenance.
Learn all of the loopholes your warranty has so you can do what’s possible to protect its efficacy.
Vehicle Ownership Is Made a Lot Better If You Know What to Expect
Vehicle ownership is an empowering thing. Don’t get disempowered by misinformation and do make the effort to check your assumptions behind the wheel.
If you do that, you’ll find yourself a lot more satisfied over the life of your car.
Curious to learn more about car innovations, new passenger vehicles, and more? If you are, consider exploring additional content on our blog.