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Car Buying Tips for Older Drivers

» Posted August 25, 2017Resources | Share This Post

Older drivers need to make sure they purchase a safe, affordable and reliable vehicle. They also need to know their rights under the California Lemon Law and under other consumer protection laws so they can take appropriate action if a vehicle they purchase turns out to have serious problems.  Both the depreciation of a vehicle and safety issues associated with vehicles can make a major impact for all car buyers, but especially for seniors.

Because older people can face unique challenges when buying a car, Kare 11 recently published an article providing tips for seniors who are going vehicle shopping. These tips can assist older car buyers in finding the vehicle that is a perfect fit for their needs.

Car Buying Tips for Senior Drivers

According to Kare 11, seniors need to be especially careful to try to minimize depreciation of the vehicle they buy. Most seniors are retired, which usually means being on a fixed income and trying to limit withdrawals from retirement savings accounts. Since cars lose their value as soon as they are driven off the lot, seniors don't want to devote too much of their money to a car that is going to start depreciating right away. 

One tip to help ensure that depreciation doesn't adversely impact senior car buyers too much is for seniors to purchase late model used vehicles instead of buying brand new cars. Late model used cars are typically relatively new so they shouldn't come with high repair costs-- but the big drop in value that comes with the purchase of a new car has already happened.  Seniors who are buying cars should also look into which car models tend to hold their value better than others.

Safety is also a big concern for many reasons. Seniors may have slower reflexes than younger drivers, and often their vision is not as good. This could mean it makes more sense for an older car buyer to invest in safety features like rearview cameras and rear proximity sensors, forward crash avoidance systems that brake for you if an object is too close to the front of the car, and warning sensors to raise the alert when a potential accident could occur.

Other tips from Kare 11 include seniors waiting to buy cars until they have a down payment for the vehicle and seniors making a careful assessment of what they can afford before going shopping for a car. Taking out the loan with the shortest possible repayment period and carefully researching auto loans are also recommended. 

By securing an affordable loan before going to the dealer, seniors will know exactly how much car to buy and won't be coerced by a dealer into taking out a longer loan just to get lower monthly payments on a more expensive vehicle than they should be buying. Senior car buyers should also understand how consumer protection laws, including California's lemon laws, could protect them if they invest in a vehicle and the car turns out to have problems.


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