Here is a list of most important piece of advice you will ever come across about car buying and ownership. But, first, why do you need to buy a car? Travelling on public transport too embarrassing for you? (of course, finding public transport is a hassle if you live on the outskirts of big cities) Or, you are dying to show your peers you are moving up, whatever that means? Read on:
1. Ignore all the message they throw at you - ignore the car ads (silly fluff - do you really think Indian roads are that good?). Ignore that fact that your company/HR department has arrangements - what if you don't have a job tomorrow?
2. Never buy the latest model - wait before prices come down, and dealers are willing to make a deal. Today's new model is tomorrow's old model, and you mostly need a car to take you from place A to B.
3. Avoid big cars - contrary to all ads you see, Indian roads and 'galis' are not made for big cars. Besides, you probably don't need a big car, unless you travel with your big family every time you go out. Do you?
4. Go for second-hand cars - The moment you take out your new car from the dealership, its value has come down at least by a lac. Research a second hand car (take a friend who knows cars, or a neighborhood mechanic), get a good value, tune up the wheels and the engine, and you are good to go.
5. If you plan to finance your new car by selling your old car, sell it directly to another person rather than exchanging it at the dealership, which will never give a good price (they will let you believe they are doing you a favor)
6. Pre-shop - Visit various banks and dealerships (online, offline) before you make your choice (now that you have zeroed down on a car)
7. Higher down payments will get you better deals from the financer
8. Don't buy anything else from a dealer, buy other stuff (music system etc.) outside - and ignore that in-built GPS fad - you are not going to Arunachal Pradesh.
9. Comprehensive insurance is almost 5% of a car's cost - and it will only go up.
10. Total monthly cost of owning a car: EMI (Estimated monthly installment) + Fuel Cost (at least Rs. 4000) + Other costs (traffic fines, parking charges, minor repairs and checkups) - at least 30% of fuel costs/month
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