The daily commute to work can be a challenge, especially when it comes to the price of gas and traveling on roadways that are congested with other drivers. Your local morning traffic report is likely to be filled with road closures and accidents that can make you stressed and frustrated by the time you arrive for work. However, whether you carpool or drive alone, choosing the right commuter vehicle for your daily fight through the asphalt jungle a bit easier, cheaper, and safer.
- Buy Automatic
Long commutes can be tough on car engines, so it is a good idea to consider buying a vehicle with an automatic transmission. Stop-and-go traffic might wear down a manual car’s gearbox and flywheel, which can cost nearly $2,000 to replace. An automatic transmission is generally more fuel efficient as well and requires fewer stops at the gas station. If your budget requires you to buy a car with a manual shift, look for one with a tall gear system that requires you to shift less and avoid wear and tear on the gearbox.
- Consider a Hybrid
Some car buyers avoid hybrid cars because they believe the technology is not quite perfected yet. However, sales are slowly climbing, and for good reason. Commuters are discovering that when it comes to fuel economy, these cars can save them several thousand dollars over the course of five years. When you consider the financing period for most vehicles, this means that you could rake in the savings and then turn the car in for a newer model before wear and tear cause the overall fuel efficiency to drop.
It is important to note that the cost of a hybrid is typically several thousands of dollars more than a gas-powered vehicle. However, if you have superior credit, you could score a good deal during sales events and if you forego frills that might jack up the price.
- Put Safety First
Fuel economy will likely be a priority when you look for a commuter car. However, putting safety first can help protect you and your passengers when you are freeway driving or find yourself in heavy traffic. Look for safety features such as a rear-facing dashboard camera, airbags in the front, back, and sides and lane-switching assist technology. Ask your local car dealer about safety ratings and which vehicles have the best crash test ratings, which can be especially important if you run a daily carpool.
- Factor in Comfort
Long commutes in an uncomfortable car can make the daily trek back and forth to work a grind that can leave you with a sore back and cramped legs. Including comfort features in any new commuter car you choose can make driving a pleasure instead of a chore, especially if you can expect to sit in traffic jams as a part of your commute. As you browse different vehicles, consider cabin noise, suspension, leg room, and entertainment choices that might make for a smoother ride.
- Payment Options
Before you set out to find the right commuter vehicle, it is wise to first consider and plan your payment options. Careful planning can help you avoid serious debt and protect your credit score for future purchases.
While paying cash for some items can help you save money, it is usually cheaper to finance a vehicle. Not only is a dealer likely to be more flexible on the cost of a vehicle if you opt for payments, but you may also be able to obtain a car loan easily through a variety of different lenders, even if this is your first time buying a new vehicle.
The daily commute can be a trial when you have an older car that guzzles gas and lets you down when you need it the most. Buying a new vehicle to suit your commuting needs can make the trip a pleasure, no matter the length of the drive.