We can all think of obvious things to consider when buying a car, whether it be new or used. Things like:
– Asking price
– How does it drive? (noises, whines, clunks)
– How many miles/km has it travelled?
– Interior condition (rips, tears, marks, scuffs)
But, what about the things we often DON’T consider? Some of which can have a great impact on the actual cost to maintain, and run the vehicle we intend to buy? These can really creep up on you, and leave you with buyers’ remorse quite quickly, if you’re not ready for them.
In this article I will cover 3 of the most commonly overlooked factors when buying a car so that you don’t get caught out next time you’re looking to buy. Here they are:
The size of the tyres fitted to the vehicle you intend to buy, as well as their type, can affect a number of things going forwards, including:
Ride quality: Lower profile tyres can be harsher to drive on, due to there being less rubber in the sidewall to absorb shocks and bumps in the road.
Road noise: Once again, lower profile tyres can be noisier on the road, as wheel as large four wheel drive tyres (All terrain and Mud terrain tyres), which can be super noisy compared to regular passenger car tyres. This may surprise and annoy you if you’re used to a quiet ride.
Ongoing costs: The size and type of the tyres on the vehicle you intend to buy can have a massive impact on the costs going forward, in both the cost to replace the tyres, as well as fuel costs.
Something fitted with a large four wheel drive tyre with more rolling resistance will cost you more, as the car will chew through a lot more fuel than regular road tyres, sometimes surprisingly so. This is definitely something to be aware of if you are considering a four wheel drive or SUV.
When it comes to replacement costs, always make sure you note down the size of the tyres fitted to the car you’re looking at buying, and call around at least 3 tyre shops to get quotes on replacing them. This is one of the most common causes of surprise extra costs I see every day, and people normally aren’t ready for it, or aren’t expecting it.
This is another commonly overlooked factor when it comes to buying a vehicle. When considering the type of transmission in the car you’re looking at, keep the following in mind:
The servicing costs of different transmissions vary greatly. Which transmission type is in the car you’re looking at? It could be, to name just a few:
– Continuously variable transmission (CVT)
– Regular automatic
– Dual clutch automatic
– Manual transmission
All of these (and the other types found in vehicles now) require different oil types, filter types, different servicing techniques and different service intervals, which will, you guessed it, have an effect on the costs associated with maintenance as well as if something drastic happens and you need to replace the whole transmission.
As with the tyres, I recommend taking note of the type of transmission that’s fitted to the vehicle, and calling around at least 3 shops to get quotes on transmission services. Don’t get caught by surprise with the cost, as some of these can be big dollars!
Another factor that is normally overlooked when it comes to transmission type, is how much fuel will it cause the car to use?
Modern vehicles have gotten a lot better, however automatics generally use more fuel than their manual counterparts. This is a relatively minor thing, but something to consider, nonetheless.
The Size, Type, and Capacity of the engine fitted to the car you’re looking at can also have a drastic effect on the ongoing costs associated with it, in much the same way the transmission can.
How many cylinders does it have? Is it turbocharged, supercharged, twin charged, naturally aspirated? Is it petrol, LPG, diesel, hybrid, straight electric?
This all has an impact on the servicing costs, for example the more cylinders an engine has, the more parts it will take, ie an 8 cylinder engine will take 8 spark plugs, 4 cylinder will take 4. This may seem silly, but when you’re talking up to $30 per spark plug or more in some cases, it can drive costs up fast.
In addition to this, the engine oil required, both the type, as well as how many litres the engine holds, will change based on these factors also. It’s not uncommon for some diesel engines to hold up to 10 litres of engine oil, as well as needing higher quality oil which, yep, costs more.
This is the same with a lot of forced induction engines (turbocharged, supercharged, etc), which typically require a higher quality oil to stop engine damage.
And how about fuel costs?
Larger capacity engines with more cylinders, require more fuel to run, therefore your costs increase. The type of fuel needed will change also, as some engines require the higher octane premium fuels to run without risk of failure, and with the prices of fuel sky rocketing world wide, this is definitely something to consider.
As with the other two points, take note of the size, type and capacity of the engine in the vehicle you intend on buying. I would always suggest calling around for some quotes on servicing of any car you’re considering purchasing.
It would pay to get quotes for some of the more routine/common maintenance items too, if the car isn’t still under logbook servicing, such as spark plug replacement, fuel and air filter replacements. Some of the costs on these can vary quite considerably.
So there you have it, 3 of the most commonly overlooked factors when it comes to buying a car. Hopefully you’ve learned something new, and remember to keep this in mind the next time you are shopping for a car!
Share this with anyone you think it could help!