“Sponsored Post”: I have been compensated for featuring cars.com in this post. As always, however, the experiences, ideas, statements, and opinions included are all mine.
Car buying is rarely an easy thing. Throw in a kid or two (or four) and buying a car can be even more stressful. Trying to find exactly what you want and when buying a family car can be a long, tedious process. But it doesn’t have to be.
We’d known for a few months that we’d be needing a new car when we turned in hubby’s old car and so took the time to figure out what we were going to replace it with. But even having that much time, buying a family car wasn’t an easy process. We had wildly different ideas of what we needed versus wanted and our budgets didn’t line up, either.
We eventually ended up with a car hubby loves, which is important with how long his commute into work is. And even though it wasn’t my first choice, the kids love riding around in it and everyone is happy.
Here’s what we’ve learned about the making the process of buying a family car easier:
Research, research, research
The best place to start is online. Figure out what you need in a car (body style, number of seats, budget) and then figure out what you want and use a resource like the research feature on Cars.com to compare cars side-by-side and then search for the exact car you want in your local area to go check out.
Think about growth
It’s easy to visualize your family’s needs now when buying a family car. You know exactly how many seat belts you’ll need but it’s also important to make sure that your kids can be properly restrained in whatever car you end up buying. So it’s important to not only think about how many people can fit in the car, it’s also important to consider how the people in your family are going to grow.
When we bought my car a few years ago, we only had 3 kids but I was wanting a fourth so we made sure the car was big enough for that. But I also took a lot of time figuring out how the kids would fit into the car, at that moment and into the future as they grew and seat needs changed. At the time, I had 2 kids rear-facing and one in a forward-facing harnessed seat. Now I have 1 kid rear-facing, one forward-facing harnessed and two in boosters.
Cars.com is an invaluable source in figuring out how car seats fit into certain cars with their Car Seat Check section where they’ve tested and reviewed hundreds of cars for car seat compatibility. You can search for the exact car you’re looking at and see what style of seat fits well and how many seats will easily fit.
Leave the kids at home
I take my kids pretty much everywhere. They’re well-behaved most places and it’s usually easier than trying to find someone to watch them. But buying a family car is the one exception. When you’re test driving cars and then spending extended amounts of time negotiating price and filling out paperwork, it’s best to not have the kids along.
We did take Doodle when we bought my car when he was a few months old because his infant car seat was easy to install while test driving. And Pipsqueak came along when we paid for hubby’s car but that’s because the other kids had stayed the night with my parents and he was riding in my car to and from the dealership.
Buying a family car is rarely an easy adventure but with a small amount of preparation and know-how, it doesn’t have to be an overly stressful experience.
In what ways have you made buying a family car easier?