Houston Community News >> Choosing the Right Cars in Houston

7/3/2007 Houston-- A car in Houston, as well as most cities in the nation, is not strictly a mean of transportation; it is an investment purchase. Just like any other investment, the right planning will result in earning a higher return on investment. A purchase that is only done every couple of years requires a certain amount of extra research. This obviously applies to car acquisitions. A car requires initial lump investment, annual expenses, hidden and obvious expenses.

Smart Houstonian car shoppers have recognized that Houston is the 6th largest metropolitan area in the nation, and the 3rd with most fortune 500 headquarters. This is resulting in a high supply of second-hand cars. The supply allows for a higher saving potential when buying used cars in Houston. With simple focused research, you'll know the perfect make, model and its fair market value. Kelly Blue Book is an ideal place to determine the fair market value of a car. Needless to mention, when making the final choice, the least expensive is not always the best fit, nor does it put you in the ultimate economical state.

The first step should be coming up with a buying budget, and an annual expense to allocate to the privilege of owning a vehicle. Make a list of the cars that you see yourself driving, and then call your car insurance company to check the rates on different cars, keep them for the record to use when making the final decision. Keep in mind that asking price does not equal the final out of pocket value. After buying the car, you would have to pay tax license registration and most importantly initial preventive maintenance (oil changes, fluid flushes etc.). Each of the factors will be discussed in details in articles that are dedicated to it.

Take into your consideration the hidden costs that arise with car ownership. Factors that I consider to be most significant are; time depreciation, miles depreciation, preventive and emergency maintenance. There is other costs that a lot of shoppers don't take into consideration; Interest (paid on loan, interest could have earned). Last but not least, please remember that in 2007, the average price the American consumer is paying at the pump is 3 dollars.

Throughout the years, I kept records of the required routine and maintenance on my cars. On average, a compact car is costing me 4 cents per mile in maintenance. Therefore, depending on the number of miles your car drives on a gallon, the ratio differs, but as illustrated in the table below, that at 25mies per gallon, you should plan to spend a dollar in maintenance for every gallon of gas.

Below is a the formula used to compute the numbers in the table, which assuming that the one way distance to work is 5 miles, remember the table is strictly based on my assumption, and experience. For those that are numbers oriented, I provided the following formula, for those that are not; you can skip the formula and jump to the table.

(((distance to work one way *520)/gas mileage)*3.00) + (distance to work one way*20.8)

Miles/Gallon 10 15 20 25 30
Annual Gas Cost 780 520 390 312 260
Annual Maintenance Cost 104 104 104 104 104

In summary, buying a used car can save you a lot if the right research is done, and the hidden expenses and factors are seriously taken into consideration before deciding on an exact Make and Model.

( Copyright - 2007 www.cars-in-houston.com Khalid R. Mustaffa is the owner of http://www.cars-in-houston.com. The website is dedicated to providing free advice and help to Houston used cars. It also links buyers and seller thought a listing service for used cars in Houston)