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Should I Buy a Second Car for the Family?

Gathering the money for a new car to replace your old one is already a challenge for many, which underlines the importance of shopping around for the best deal. However, there is also another complexity if you don’t want to replace your old car, rather, you are looking at buying a second car for the family.


Initial considerations

With a second car, you have to weigh up a few questions and think hard about your budget. If you’re still paying off the existing car, will you have enough in your pay packet to meet the repayments for two cars? Have you factored in that you will now need to pay for two registrations and two sets of maintenance costs, not to mention extra petrol? It really pays to do your homework and have a good hard think.

On the other hand, if you have already paid off the existing car, it might be easier to fund your second car given the implications for your credit history as well as cash flow.

No matter what your situation, it doesn’t hurt to think about whether you actually need a second car. Most of the time we can make do with one, but for families where mum and dad run to a different schedule, or one of the kids has just gotten their licence, a second car becomes very practical.


Making the decision

Here’s a handful of questions that you might want to ask yourself before you decide whether you should get one car or two:

  1. How many people are there in your family? What are their travel needs? If mum or dad are on the road a lot, and/or the kids do a lot of sport or out-of-school activities, a second car is a bit of a necessity.
  2. Where do you live? It goes without saying that the more remote your location, the more critical it is that more than one member of the family has access to a car at any given time. You can’t overlook the prospect of an emergency, where a matter of timing can be everything.
  3. What sort of trips are you likely to make? If they are all short trips, you might be able to make do with a bike or by walking.
  4. What is your local public transport like? If public transport provides you with sufficient access to shops, services and amenities in your area, save yourself from buying another car. Plus, you’ll do your bit for the environment!
  5. Do you have to transport a lot of items with you? Tradies are the obvious ones here, where a ute might make sense as a second vehicle. But if you’re riding around with an empty boot most of the time, is another car really all that useful?

As you’ll see, the decision is a highly personal one, and only you and your family will truly understand your vehicle needs.