We’ve all probably dreamt about what our first car would look/be like at one point in our lives since when we were little. However, when the time actually comes to make the purchase; reality surely does set in (unfortunately) but this shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the process and I can guarantee you that we will try to make it as seamless, riveting and stress-free as possible here @ www.autohub.ng.
So in your quest to acquire a vehicle for the very first time, these are some of the salient points that you should factor into serious consideration, starting with the grand-daddy of them all – MONEY!
In our local parlance, we have a saying “na money be koko” popularised recently by afro-pop artiste Mr. Eazi which loosely translates to another revered statement “cash rules everything”, a line from the song C.R.E.A.M. by sensational Hip-Hop group Wu- Tang Clan in 1993. The contextual meaning of these phrases need no further explanation(s) as they are highly self-explanatory. Now money might not be everything but it is everything if you catch my drift (*winks) therefore, in other words – “you gotta be right on the money…” Which brings me to the sub-factors you ought to take cognisance of when setting up your budget.
- How much do you plan to spend on maintenance?: This is normally the last thing that people tend to think about when purchasing a vehicle but I can confidently tell you that this is as important as anything, and everything else. I remember vividly a recent event that boggled my mind – there’s a friend of mine that owns a VolksWagen Polo (2011 model) and it’s a pretty little car but decent still. There were some problems with the gear box so the whole chamber had to be replaced, you wouldn’t believe that it cost twice as much as the gearbox for a 2008 Porsche Cayenne!
Absolutely blew our minds. So please, do your market research. You’re usually safe with Japanese vehicles as maintenance costs are usually low, however, with European and American vehicles it is strongly advised you do your due diligence and ask the necessary questions; it will save you a lot of future headaches and or heart breaks. That’s why some times you’ll see some semi-luxury vehicles that have been parked for so long. It could be a minor fault but the owner can’t bring themselves to purchase a replacement part that’s perceived to be too expensive. Once again, I implore you to investigate then verify.
- Payment plan: There’s a plethora of ways to finance your car payments either via banks or second and third party financiers. However, ensure you choose the most flexible plan out there in order not to choke or be gripped with fear when the bills are approaching or greatly reduce the quality of your life. Sure, it’s like a love affair but you must always remember that it is just a car at the end of the day and as stated earlier – you shouldn’t weaken your life force so much so that you are unable to carry out little day to day miscellaneous expenses.
Indulge the services of a lawyer if you can afford to, an accountant or a trusted friend/family member to go through the terms and conditions of your loan repayment as it is an already established fact that most of us do not like to read the lot.
2. DISTANCE TRAVELLED/COMMUTED REGULARLY
Now that we’ve gotten the money aspect pretty much covered, the second factor to consider is your commute. Most of our regular commute involves house – work place, work place – house save for the odd making-long-distance-trips to see your family (if they live outside of the state you work in) during the weekends, or having to take different routes daily if you’re a sales person. You have to objectively weigh your options before you decide. Fortunately, there are a good number of vehicles that have been manufactured specifically to cater to those who fall into this category. The Toyota Corolla is exemplary in this regard.
If you’re like me, you’ll probably yell out “more power” even when there’s more than enough to give you that exhilarating feeling that’s mostly climactic for years on end! The truth is, it makes no sense to purchase a frenetic V8 supercharged engine for the purpose of wading through Lagos traffic on a daily basis for instance. Albeit modern technological wizardry has made it possible for large engines to shut down most cylinders during inner-city commutes thereby reducing your fuel consumption drastically. One of such cars is the W12 Audi A8/S8 in the recent “Transporter” series installation. Whichever direction you choose to steer eventually, please use your head, not your heart.
3. CAR TYPE
To a certain extent, this has some ties to “distance commuted”, it should be expanded upon nonetheless. Most of my verbiage is usually British but on this, as per when I say type, I have to describe in the most common parlance which may include American descriptions.
Here goes; SUV like Highlander, Crossover like Venza, Minivan like Sienna/Odyssey, Sedan like Camry, hatchback like Golf etc. Mind you, some of these also have sub-types for example the Toyota Corolla is mostly referred to as a “compact-sedan” while the Yaris a “sub-compact-sedan”.
I hope this clears the air a bit on car types so let’s move on to the main gist at hand. Always include future plans when deciding on the type of vehicle you want to purchase because you may have it for a while and I’m talking about long-term here. Ask yourself these questions and answer honestly; what area would I reside in? What are the roads on the routes I ply like? Do I plan on having a family soon? Does my job require me to carry heavy stuff around regularly? Would this provide enough comfort and financial flexibility in the long run?
There are a couple more if you keep searching within. Answer them honestly and your decision would be guided properly.
4. SO YOU HAVE DECIDED ON WHAT TO GET. WHAT’S NEXT?
You could visit a number of websites out there like ours or you could walk up to a car stand or dealership but it is always advisable you go with a mechanic whenever you want to inspect the vehicle you’ve chosen. While on this mission here are a few things you should look out for:
- Be wary of hot starts: What do I mean by this? You should watch out for a pre-warmed engine, it could be hiding some problems that would normally be a cynosure if the car was started say after 2 – 3 weeks of leaving it out for a while. So like we say in our local parlance “shine ya eyes well well”.
- Be as pedantic as you can: What this basically means is that you should pay close attention to minor details, look at the side of the doors, bend down and look underneath the vehicle, lift up the foot mats to look at the frame beneath, during the test drive, does the steering wheel tilt? Are there knobs or switches that need flickering multiple times before they eventually work?
Just make sure that you are thorough when appraising the vehicle intended for purchase.
- Look at the mileage: Yeah sure, it could be tampered with but always allow for the influence of mileage to affect your decision making process. A larger mileage isn’t always bad but it isn’t ideal either. You’re more likely to face mechanical, electrical and or cosmetic problems in the nearest future after making the purchase statistically speaking.
- Look up the VIN: VIN stands for Vehicle Identification Number (just case you didn’t know). This number is basically a window into the soul of that vehicle especially if it’s coming from North America. Most crucial information such as history, accident report(s), part of a recall, etc., are readily available at your disposal.
- Don’t settle for the very first one: Please take your time and check out as many vehicles as you can. You could save yourself some trouble and maybe some cash too. Whatever stress involved during this process could prevent further more-stressful situations in the future as it relates with the vehicle. So go out there, keep looking until you find a vehicle that suits you, matches your taste, and is copasetic.
- Factor in mechanical or cosmetic faults when negotiating the price so as to gain leverage: Last but definitely not the least. Endeavour to include the faults when negotiating or renegotiating the price because whatever it is that needs fixing will come out of your own pocket at the end of the day, so it is wise to factor it in in any situation even, not just vehicles. I trust my Naija people are never scared to haggle price anywhere, any-day, anytime.
Either way, it’s always a memorable experience so try to enjoy it as much as possible. And yeah, please follow and like our social media handles. From the innermost depths of my heart, I’ll like to say a very big thank you for taking out time to read through this piece.
Many thanks as well from everyone at AutoHub Nigeria. We urge you to drive safely always…