How to Decide if You Actually Need a New Car

People buy cars for a variety reasons, which in turn depend on a variety of personal factors, including one’s location, gender, income and family. This means that your vehicle is unlikely to be the same as that of your neighbour. In fact, you may not need a car at all – because not everyone does.

The best way to figure out if you need a car is by taking a look at some of the common reasons why people buy them and see if any of them fit you. We have assembled the list for your convenience right here.

Reason #1: Long-Distance Commute

Vehicles have been the solution to long-distance commutes for decades now. They are fast, convenient and relatively affordable.

If you travel more than 30 kilometres every day to reach your work or school, then you may need a car. While public transportation can be used for this very purpose too, it is not always accessible or timely enough to be reliable. According to Google Maps, a simple 50-kilometre commute can take up to two hours. This is mainly due to long transfer times and a lack of public transit in certain areas.

Here is an example of a long-distance commute by public transit:

And here is an example of the same commute by car:

Another important issue to consider is whether owning and maintaining a commuter vehicle is cheaper than relying on public transit. If you are planning to commute by yourself and avoid driving for any other purpose, then a vehicle may not be worth the money. On the other hand, if your spouse or common-law needs to travel regularly in the same direction as you, then a vehicle may cost the two of you less than public transit. Calculate your total public transit expenses and weigh them against the costs of car ownership to see if a vehicle is the best option. You can learn more about calculating ownership costs here.

The last question you need to ask yourself is whether a long-distance commute is the only reason you will need a vehicle, because that would dictate the type of vehicle you should buy. You can learn more about various vehicle types in this article.

Reason #2: Suburban Life

Living in the suburbs without a vehicle can be a tough ordeal. Public transportation is limited and everything is spread out over large chunks of land, making it difficult to reach anything without a motorized vehicle. Take a look at the following map to see what we mean:

If you live in a suburb, then you may need a vehicle to speed up your regular trips to the grocery store, dentist office, gym and other similar locations. This is particularly important for people who are planning to move into a newly-established suburb where the infrastructure is simply not there yet to accommodate individuals without a vehicle.

Reason #3: Family and Children

Between work and taking your children to daycare or school, there is likely to be very little time for anything else. Having a vehicle can save you a lot of time and money in this instance. You can use it to commute and transport your little ones from point A to point B quickly and efficiently. Just take a look at this route:

The benefits of a car double when you have several children since you only need one vehicle to take care of them all.

Reason #4: Freelance Work or Running a Business

Many freelance workers and small business owners require a vehicle to accomplish their jobs. Freelancers in the construction industry, for instance, tend to require pickup trucks to transport heavy materials, while freelance couriers need minivans and midsize vans. In other words, there are plenty of individuals who use their own vehicles for profit – and you may be one of them. The trick is to find out what type of vehicle you need and how much money you can invest into a one before making the purchase. You can learn more about estimating an accurate car budget right here.

Reason #5: Freedom to Travel Anywhere

Owning a vehicle allows you to travel anywhere at any time – at least within your own continent. A vehicle is particularly useful for people who wish to travel to small towns or cottages since those areas are not as easily accessible by other modes of transportation.

When selecting a vehicle, make sure to take into account the sort of travel you are planning to do because that would directly influence your vehicle type. For instance, if you are planning to traverse muddy terrains, then you will need to buy an appropriate vehicle for that. For more information on how to determine what vehicle type fits your lifestyle, consult this article.

What to Do Next

Once you are sure that a car is indeed desirable in your circumstances, then you should check if your current budget can accommodate one and then decide what type of vehicle you need.