Whether you’re contemplating buying a brand-new vehicle, or one that’s had one (or more) previous owners, there are certain features and essentials that you’re going to need, to ensure you and your passengers are safe when traveling from A to B. Here are just a few considerations to keep in mind as you’re car shopping:
The right insurance policy is essential no matter what your driving experience, credit history or age. While you definitely want to shop around for the right insurance company, make sure you get the coverage you need at a price you can afford. If you are senior, or a teenager with little driving experience, you may want to look into SR22 policies for a more affordable option. Some companies, such as Acceptance Auto Insurance, work with higher risk clients to secure a policy that is both affordable and comprehensive.
There are several safety features that you should look for in a vehicle; while some may be optional (thus more expensive), many are standard features on most cars. These include:
- Anti-lock brakes
- Driver and passenger side air bags (many newer vehicles also have rear air bags as a standard feature)
- Voice controls – this allows you to make phone calls and change radio stations without having to take your eyes off the road
- Car alarm
- GPS systems – you’ll never get lost again, keeping you and your passengers safe
The Right Tires
You don’t have to have the most expensive tires on the market, but the tires should have good tread and be ready for all kinds of weather. If you live in a cold part of the country, snow tires should be a definite consideration in the winter months. They give you greater stopping power and help prevent dangerous skidding on ice. It’s also important to make sure you have your tires inflated to the proper tire pressure. Check them regularly and purchase an air compressor so you can inflate your tire in the event of a flat. Also, always have a spare in your trunk.
At the bare minimum, your emergency car kit should contain the following items:
- Jumper cables
- At least a quart of motor oil
- Flashlight and batteries
- At least a quart of coolant
- First-aid kit
- Small tool kit consisting of adjustable wrenches, screwdrivers and pocket knife.
Roadside Assistance Membership
Getting an AAA membership is well worth the cost, and you’ll be thankful you paid the money when you’re broken down in the middle of nowhere on a cold winter’s night. There are other benefits to an AAA membership as well – such as saving on family vacations and other travel purposes. More than 35 per cent of Americans take family vacations, and having an AAA membership can give peace of mind, and save you money.
Gizmos and Gadgets
Newer vehicles come with a plethora of gizmos and gadgets, some of which you may find essential, and some you may just consider a ‘nice to have’ option. Here are just a few features you can find on newer vehicles:
- Lane-assist: Recognizes painted lines and helps keep your car centered if you’re about to drift across
- Blind-spot monitoring: Alerts you to vehicles in your blind spot to help avoid collisions.
- Night vision: Helps identify bikers and pedestrians on the road ahead.
There are, of course, many more features and more are introduced by car manufacturers each year as technology advances.
Make a list of features and options that are most important to you, come up with a budget, and buy your next vehicle with confidence.