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Family Car Advice: What If You Have To Buy Now? Page 3


Don’t forget leasing

If you’ve never before considered leasing, now may be the time to give it a try. Shop around for a good 24- to 36-month lease. Things could be a lot different two to three years from now, and you will be able to turn your leased vehicle back in and then buy what you want. Of course, if you drive more than the annual mileage cap (10,000 or 12,000 miles, in most cases), leasing may not be the right option for you.

The other reason to consider leasing right now is that current interest rates are low and projected resale values are high. That means manufacturers are more willing to offer attractive lease deals.

What if you already have a lease and it’s running out? Ask for a lease extension of six months. This will give the market time to hopefully stabilize and maybe there’ll be better deals available then for that new or used car purchase.

This time, used cars may not be a better deal

The old thinking that used cars are cheaper than new cars may not be true this time around. It’s the old supply and demand principle at work. There are fewer used cars available and more people looking for them. That drives prices up. You might be better looking at a new car that’s not burning rubber off dealers’ lots than that reliable used one you thought you could pick up on the cheap.

Hang on to what you’ve got

This last bit of advice is really pretty realistic. Most people can get several thousand more miles out of their current vehicle, if they take care of it. Driving it until the wheels fall off isn’t really what we’re talking about, but holding on to your current car may mean that you have to pay a little more in maintenance, replacement parts and so on. Still, it’s a whole lot cheaper than buying at today’s new car prices.

If you can wait out the market to buy, you’ll be in much better shape. According to analysts, that could be later toward the end of this year or in the first quarter of 2012.

Then, again, anything could change. But if you’re the one who has to do something right now, consider the abovementioned options and make your move.

For more insight into the reason car prices are rising, see this story in TheCarConnection.

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