How to Put the Brakes on Car Ownership Stress
The alarm goes off. It’s 6:00 AM, and you awake to a soothing, musical chime emanating from your smartphone, a pleasant sound that does nothing to reduce the anxieties over your bills, the kids or your job. And yet there’s another aspect of life that causes stress – your car. You will probably agree that owning a vehicle, although convenient, is a cause for occasional frustration. For many drivers already on edge from their daily routine, squeaking brakes and check engine lights may seem like a sign of the universe acting cruel!
Not an Option!
According to an American survey, buying a car is more stressful than tying the knot. The tension often hits first-time car shoppers the hardest, but even those who have bought a vehicle before can feel nervous. 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: 3 Pressures
- Situational – 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 – 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 – Thanks to the mad men in advertising, there’s a lifestyle which 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.
A Burdensome Luxury
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.
Like your own body, maintaining a vehicle requires constant 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 the 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 a 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 parents of young people (especially young men ages 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 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. 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.
How to Counter the Stress of Car Ownership
Fortunately, you can own a car without having to tolerate undue stress, no matter what your current circumstances are. In fact, it’s important you do so. Minimizing frustration or anxiety in one aspect of life goes a long away, so if your car is complicating things, you need to simplify your situation!
1. Find the Best Rate Possible
Unless you are among the few who will purchase a car with cash, you will most likely resort to financing. When searching for a car loan, it’s essential that you look for the most optimal rate, a number that depends on your credit score, down payment and budget. Although you won’t pay the same rate as say, your best friend, you need to find a sweet spot that is affordable on a monthly basis. Even a subprime rate is manageable if handled right – a 20% down payment can improve your profile – and opens you up to more flexible plans later on if you decide to look into car loan refinancing. The idea here is to look deep into your circumstances, opting for a rate that’s not necessarily the standard, but rather, suitable for you.
2. Follow a Maintenance Schedule
For those of you who already own a car, keeping up with your scheduled maintenance dates is a great way to stay stress-free. Problems arise when you neglect things like your oil changes and brake testing. Additionally, the likelihood of an issue developing under the hood without you knowing is higher if you ignore your car’s regular “checkups”. Prevention is better than fix. Overlooking your car’s basic maintenance is a quick road to costly repairs.
3. Take Breaks Occasionally
There are a lot of people out there who say they need a break from traffic. Ironically, they can take such a hiatus any time! If you’d like to spend a few days away from the wheel, why not jump on the bus or subway? Or why not bike to work if it’s close enough, or carpool if you want to be chauffeured for once? When you think about it, there are several alternatives if you want to avoid the driver’s seat for some time. Taking public transit or sitting in the passenger seat once in a while will spare you from stress and potentially dangerous road rage.
Putting Stress Under Cruise Control
Remember the childhood desire to drive and own a car? Remember how thrilling it was to drive for the first time? Unfortunately, those memories are buried as soon as we start handling the responsibilities associated with car ownership. However, these duties don’t need to weigh on you. Speak to a credit advisor who specializes in auto loans, and can help you devise a payment plan that’s affordable both upfront and monthly. By doing so, you can be sure that your car is an asset, instead of a liability.
If you are in need of an affordable payment plan or want to refinance your current auto loan, get in touch with us. We’ll work with you to find the most suitable rates, and help you improve your credit report fast!