Buying a car?

A few ways to think about it.

■ RICHARD PERRY / Contributed

Greetings from the Hemet Car Guy.

According to an American survey, buying a car is one of the most stressful things in our life. However, it shouldn’t be.
The tension often hits first-time car shoppers the hardest, but even those who have bought a vehicle before can feel that the colored box-on-wheels, the epitome of convenience, also brings significant stress. Peeling off the lot comes after numerous steps. Considering the process involved, it’s fair to assume that many aspiring car owners may suffer a few bouts of cold feet before making a purchase.

Why we buy anyway

Situational pressure
Circumstances often dictate what type of transportation you will use. For example, parents in large families and individuals who work far from home will generally prefer to own a car. Also, if your daily routine involves many errands and detours, buying a car may stand as the most practical option.

Social pressure
You’ve probably heard a conversation where someone asks, “When are you getting your license?” This is an example of social pressure. It grows quite strong when someone is of legal age to drive, and may send those who have waited right into their nearest test center.

Status pressure
Thanks to the mad men in advertising, there’s a lifestyle that many people want and such a way of life often involves owning a car. With that said, there’s usually a brand at the center of it all, taking the desire to own a car to a more emotional level.
If there was a painting to represent the stress of car ownership, it would most likely be a mosaic. The seemingly tiny tasks needed to maintain an automobile, when stacked amongst each other, contribute to your daily stress, and you may not notice it right away.
What comes after

Maintaining a vehicle requires consistent work. Oil changes, brake replacements, detailing – there’s plenty to do. Every once in a while, you’ll need to make bigger fixes to your car, such as the replacement of a faulty transmission or blown motor. In between the basics and major burdens, there are numerous glitches that can occur, all of which need attention. If you drive an aging car, expect it to be more prone to persistent troubles.

Earlier on, we mentioned that some people need cars out of necessity. But what happens when that need is compounded by the other debts you carry? Some people already have difficulty paying their mortgage or rent, and there are others who can’t secure low rates on their car loans because of their credit (for which there are alternatives, such as bad-credit car loans). Anything that turns into a must-have but is hard to afford, will naturally leave an individual feeling stressed out.

For younger people (especially young men aged 16 – 24) and those with accidents on their driving records, a mere discussion of insurance policies and companies may induce a cringe. A single accident, even a relatively minor one, can send a driver’s premium through the ceiling. There’s no need to mention what happens after a major accident. But it’s not unusual for people with perfect records to still pay high rates due to their age, location and the type of vehicle they own.

The daily driving experience
Every minute spent behind the wheel is risky. The safest driver can encounter someone who is reckless, or cross paths with unsafe road conditions or bad weather. And then you’ve got traffic. Some of you may already spend three to fours a day in rush hour commutes, crawling behind bumpers, honking your horn every few minutes. It’s a miserable experience and bad for your health – science says drivers who spend more time in traffic have higher rates of health problems, such as obesity, diabetes, and worse, a greater likelihood of heart attacks.

Happy driving!

Richard Perry is the owner of VIP Autos in Hemet and is known to his readers in The Valley Chronicle as the Hemet Car Guy.

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