Shopping for a new vehicle?

“Something tells me a lot of locals are shopping for new vehicles,” Nutini begins.

Something tells me a lot of locals are shopping for new vehicles.

Seeing as many of you weren’t really prepared for shopping you might be interested in some mechanic’s advice. Well, even if you don’t want any I have to have something to write about.

First and foremost your new vehicle has to fit whether brand new or new to you. You may have decided by seeing an ad or riding in a friend’s vehicle or just seeing one drive by that you know what you want. Be sure you try that vehicle on for size. That means from the driver’s seat.

No matter how good consumer reports or Car and Driver says it is, if a vehicle doesn’t fit you it won’t do you much good.

If you are buying a new vehicle, once you choose your new prospective ride, it is time to get down to the purchasing process. Sure, you and the salesman might have agreed on a price but now it is time to actually make the transaction. If the purchasing process is similar to the last time I bought a vehicle you move from the salesman to some financial specialist. It is here that some high pressure sales tactics begin.

Extended warranty, maintenance, undercoating, plastic film or polymer paint sealant are some of those extra things that will presented to you as necessary additions to your purchase. You just thought it was as easy as deciding to get the heated seats or not. Not so.

Do you need any of these extras? I am going to comment on one item for now. Maintenance packages generally only include the basic maintenance that your vehicle requires under normal use. Kootenay driving is not normal. Mountainous terrain, short commutes, extreme hot and cold temperatures, trailer towing, snow salt and sand. Each and every one of these scenarios require additional maintenance that likely will not be included in your maintenance package. If you want your vehicle to be trouble free you will need to spend more on maintenance. A yearly free oil change just won’t cut it.

Buying a used vehicle? I have said it before. Get it inspected by a third party. If you can find an independent auto repair shop that specializes in the vehicle that you are looking to purchase get them to look it over for you. You want more than just a safety inspection. A good pre purchase inspection will provide insight into what maintenance and repair items you are going to be paying for in the near future.

Buying a vehicle registered in British Columbia? That vehicle never had to pass any vehicle safety inspection unless it came to B.C. from another province or country. We have no mandatory inspections for personal use vehicles. That pre-purchase inspection is even more important here in B.C.

Trail’s Ron Nutini is a licensed automotive technician and graduate of mechanical engineering from UBC. E-mail:

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