If this is your first time buying a car on your own, or if you’re just not sure what to look for in a new vehicle, we’re here to help.
After all, the features of your vehicle will determine how easy it is to take care of, how it will handle, and how comfortable you are in it, and are things you’ll have to live with for quite some time.
Thankfully, every car you find on a lot is available for a test drive as well, so you do get to get a feel for the car and how it works before you commit to buying it.
Every vehicle you look at will have standard features such as a radio, electric windows and seats, etcetera, but there are many more to consider and choose from, and some are more helpful and important than others.
Again, you’ll have your car for a while, so why settle for something less than everything you need?
Most Important Features
When looking for a car, obviously the first thing you’re going to look at is the gadgets it comes equipped with. Heated seats, backup cameras, electric windows and seats, a sunroof – all of these are things that improve the simplicity, convenience, and comfortability of your vehicle.
However, the first things you should be looking for and should absolutely never compromise on are the vehicle’s safety features. For instance:
- Side-Impact Curtain Airbags – these will provide protection for both your head and torso in the event of a side-impact collision.
- Adaptive Front Airbags – the ‘adaptive’ is an important distinction; these aren’t just standard front facing airbags…these will take into account your seating position and seat belt use to determine the force needed when deploying the airbag, so they’re a bit safer than standard.
- Electronic Stability Control – this is actually an extension of the anti-lock braking systems, and help you have even more control in dangerous and potentially fatal collisions.
- Head Restraints/Seat Design – your seats are there for more than just your comfort; they should be designed to protect you too. The head restraint, if adjusted properly, will protect you from whiplash in the event of a collision, and some vehicles even have seats that adjust the head restraint when the seat is adjusted, taking all the guesswork out of the equation.
- Tether System (LATCH) – this is especially important if you have children, as the LATCH system provides you with a simple way to secure your child’s seat inside the vehicle. This system helps to completely secure your child’s seat, making it safer for them to ride in.
- Locking Seatbelts – this means there is a mechanism that engages the seat belt when the brakes are applied more firmly than normal, or when the vehicle comes to a sudden stop, preventing you from being slung forward.
- Anti-Lock Brakes – this feature will prevent your brakes from locking and becoming unresponsive in the event of a sudden need to stop.
- Traction Control – this is to ensure you do not lose traction on roads effected by severe weather conditions such as snow, ice, and heavy rain.
Now that we’ve gone over the most important features to look for, we can move on to the features which make your vehicle that much more convenient and comfortable to drive.
These are features that you could always live without, but that you’d sorely miss if you suddenly went from a car that had them to a car that doesn’t, and make our lives that much easier for the day to day. These include:
- Cruise Control – this feature is especially wonderful on long trips, especially if the trip consists mostly of highway or interstate roads. It allows you to set your vehicle to go a certain speed, and once set, your vehicle will adjust itself to go that speed without you having to do anything but signal and steer.
- 4-Wheel Drive – this feature is not for everyone, but is certainly nice for those who like to be able to drive over many different kinds of terrain, and even in inclement weather – especially in inclement weather, as it allows you to navigate in snow and deep water.
- Heated Seats – how nice would it be if you’ve just walked through the cold winter air, only to sit in your car and be instantly warmed by the seat beneath your hind parts? Well, with heated seats, you absolutely can. Ahh, warmth from the frigid cold.
- Automatic Transmission – while driving a manual transmission will surely always be cheaper on gas, there’s just no replacement for having to do…well, not much of anything in order to operate your vehicle. I still maintain that being able to drive a manual is helpful in certain situations, but an automatic transmission is my bread and butter.
- DVD Video System – this one is especially life-saving if you have children. These systems are especially great during longer trips because they distract your children with the miracle of television so you can concentrate on the road, rather than they’re screaming that they don’t want to be in the car anymore.
- Sunroof – this, while not quite as grand as having a top that comes off your vehicle, is a close second. It allows you to let the sun shine in while you drive (or the stars, if you’re driving at night), or to get a little extra air flow going in the car, if you’re a windows down kind of guy.
- Navigation System/GPS – If you’re anything like me, you’re probably completely directionally deficient. I swear, I’d lose my own head if it wasn’t attached to me, but thanks to GPS, I’ll never lose my way. Most phones nowadays have it, but it’s a thousand times more convenient when it’s just built into your vehicle, and that robotic lady will tell you exactly where you need to go.
Car Accessories You Shouldn’t Miss for Your New Car
The excitement in purchasing a new car does not stop with the actual purchase, you still have this to think about – car accessories. You can always opt not to get these gadgets as it may mean additional cost, but can you really? Check out the list below to know for sure.
Dashcam – I think you’d agree how annoying it is to explain an accident is not your fault when filing car insurance claims. If you’re a first-time driver and you don’t know how it goes yet, I’m telling you, having everything recorded in actual video footage is going to be the best decision you’ll make.
Laser Detector – Alright, it’s not like you’re living a double agent’s life here or running away from the bad guys. These are lasers that let off when it detects speed cameras nearby. Again, this is not a necessity but if you are guilty of forgetting to look at your speedometer, this may come in handy, and be useful in avoiding speeding tickets.
Most laser detectors offer 360-degree surveillance of your surrounding area and send off voice or text signals when they spot a signal. More advanced options even offer separate settings for city and rural driving so you can prevent instances of false alerts.
Car Vacuum – A lot of people are sensitive to dirt and crumbs in their car seats, more so if your car is new. But honestly, you can’t get mad at anyone who gets in your car every single time, so if you can’t prevent it, just prepare a handy remedy. Car vacuums are always a welcome addition to your car accessories list, especially if you like your car squeaky clean.
Portable Car Jump Starter – You’re probably thinking that since your car is new, you won’t need to jump-start your car anytime soon. Yes, it’s true. But still, if I were you, I’d want to have one just in case I’ll need it, especially if you like traveling mostly on off-road adventures. Besides, you can also use it to lend a hand to those in need if you happen to come across them. This gadget is also helpful in charging personal devices.
Car Tracking Device – Car theft and friends or family members using your car without your knowledge may sound like something that’s not going to happen to you, but it does happen. So you might want to consider getting a car tracking device. This may come in handy during emergencies, too, in case you get stuck somewhere and no one knows where you are.
Besides, everything can be linked now to your smartphone securely by downloading an app. This way, you can track your car wherever you are.
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