As a successful woman you know what it takes to get things done. You spend hours working in your office. Writing, planning, building and networking are all part of the job. Growing your business also depends on reliable transportation.

In Southern California you have to have your own car. You wouldn’t be in business without the freedom your car gives you to get out, sell your services and keep your business moving forward.

While it is usually cheaper to fix your current car, at some point you need to replace it. So, spend a minute in your garage and look over your car. Make a list of what you like about your car and what you would change. List the good and the bad in order of importance, and use that list when shopping for another car.

Here are options for you to consider:

1. Buy a new car.
A new car smells great but comes with a new-car price. You may pay for the car in full or make payments. New cars require larger insurance premiums to cover both the cost of the car and the lender if you have one. Once you drive that new car off of the showroom floor, it depreciates quickly; the car will be worth less than you owe for a time. You can get insurance to cover this “gap” when the car is worth less than the loan. This insurance may helpful if you are in an accident. Make sure you ask questions during the financing process.

2. Lease a new car.
Leases require a down payment and then payments for the term of your lease. Most often, it’s a three-year term. Larger insurance premiums are required because you cover the lender as well. Once your lease ends, you turn in the car. Be careful to note how many miles you are allowed annually. It can be expensive if you go over the allowed mileage, and this overage fee is due when you turn in the car. At lease end, you won’t have a car unless you buy or lease another car.

3. Buy a used car.
This allows you the opportunity to find a great used car at a better price point. If you make payments on a used car, you will have a larger insurance premium. If you pay cash for your car, you won’t need to add that extra coverage. A certified car off a lot may come with a warranty. If you purchase from a private party, get a pre-purchase inspection. It is worth the cost. Find out whether the car has any repair history, and check to see what maintenance needs are coming due. You don’t want to spend all your money on a car only to find out it’s due for an expensive item.

Don’t forget to:
• Get insurance quotes before making any purchase or signing any lease.
• Read all the lease terms, including yearly mileage allowance. Know the numbers.
• Check into costs of purchasing versus a lease.
• Evaluate the price of new versus used cars.
• Get a pre-purchase inspection or buy a certified used car.

Whatever you park in your garage, make sure it’s safe and reliable. Take care of your car, and it will take care of you.


About Your Columnist

Debbie Wright  is a featured columnist for Women Taking Charge, the official blog of Connected Women of Influence, where she covers everything about your “office on wheels.” She is a single mom of five and the owner of MOTEC Auto Care, located in San Diego. She shares her knowledge by educating women and young teens on the basics of car care.


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