Top Tips Of Buying Car Before you turn over your hard earned cash for your car, sit down with a financial planner or agent and ask questions. Is there any tiered finance structure ? Some finance companies let you fork out a much smaller sum in the first six to 18 months, but you may end up servicing an almost double monthly sum thereafter. Find out how the interest rate is calculated. Is it a fixed rate or is there a floating tier tied to a prime (fixed) rate ? Get these details neatly printed for you to take home. Thera are some things that you should know. This information will save you a lot of money, both right now and in the future. A car agent with 10 years experience who declined to be named says “Consider the total price of the car, and reassess your capacity to afford it. “The point of having a lower upfront payment is so that car owners plan their finances adequately, just like they do with their mortgage financing, he adds. So if you are asset rich, you can choose to re-jig your finances by either extending your mortgage loan quantum or refinancing it, to squeeze more cash for your monthly car instalment. If you have more cash on hand, pay up as much as you can first, and you save up on interests with a smaller loan quantum. What about parallel imports ? “While it is true that parallel importers may sell the same car cheaper. It’s also the case that the engine or parts of the interior are differently configured,”He explains. If buying from a parallel importer, make sure he offers a warranty. Another point to note is the COE price, which has been falling. CEO rates are as unpredictable as the weather here, he adds. Car prices have come down somewhat, but the agent stresses that you have to work out your sums before you drive away. Buying Your Dream Family Car When shopping for family car, some practical features such as safety locks and storage spaces are important considerations, aside from the design or façade of the car. Here is a list of what else to look out for, before you sign on the dotted line : CHILD SAFETY FEATURES Evaluate the car’s safety features : ensure there are anchorage points to secure in the child seat, for example. There are some models where the car booster seats are built in, too. Look out for features such as safety locks on the rear doors and override window controls, where the children can fiddle with the controls, without opening the doors and windows accidentally. These are important for child safety. LIFESTYLE Once you have found some models that meet your safety standards, think about how you are going to use the car. Some questions to ask your self are : - How many children do you have ? If you have (or planning to have) three or more, or if you often travel with your extended family, you may wish to consider a bigger car, if budget permits. - Also, where will you do most of your driving ? if you drive mainly in the city, consider a smaller car to make it easier to park and manoeuvre. - Then, how much storage will you need ? Check that there ia ample boot space to put a stroller, golf bags, cooler or other large items. - Take your kids along when you test drive. Check if you can get to them easily in car because some MPVs or SUVs may be too high for them. If they are old enough, see if they can get in and out of the car easily. OTHER FEATURES AND ACCESSORIES Remote keyless entry allows you to open or lock car doors with a push of button. It is especially handy when you are carrying a sleeping child or the stroller or bags of groceries. Rear seat cup holders that hold cups securely will help to prevent spills, especially when children like to snack in the car. Car Care Tips BATTERY CARE : How to tell it is failing ? One of the most annoying things that can happen to a driver is when your car goes “dead”. Basically, the battery has run out on you. Instead of even getting to that stage, there are ways to tell when your car battery is running low. According the Automobile Association’s monthly magazine, the life of your battery is not prolonged if you economise on the use of the radio or the headlights. Basically, the life of a battery depends on age. Most batteries have at least an 18-month lifespan. You know it is dying when your horn is sounding weaker and when you switch on the engine, the car is slow to crank up. So the next time you fill up on petrol. Kindly ask the attendant to check your battery. TYRES: Why you should never save on this. Most motorists spend money each week cleaning their cars, vacuuming the interiors, filling up petrol and checking on battery water. However, many fail to pay attention to possibly the most important part of a car-the tyres. Good tyres ensure good acceleration, steering, cornering and braking. This is one cost you do not want to stint on. It is good to know the proper pressure of the tyres you use-how much is required is on your car manual. Too much pressure in tyres can make driving very harsh and wear out the tyres threads quickly. You know your tyres are bald if you skid when you brake on wet or dry roads. Lastly, ensure your spare tyres is not flat !