When we were younger we looked at what our grandparent’s were driving and called them the old folk’s cars. Well there was a reason our grandparents drove those cars. Whether they stopped to think about it or not, some cars are simply better suited for those eligible for AARP membership.
We have special needs and concerns when choosing our next new car. The first thing that comes to my mind is comfort. Over the years we have developed arthritis and other joint problems. Our bones ache, so we need to sit in a comfortable seat. We have other needs as well some you might not have thought about.
Due to fuel economy mandates and gas prices, the automotive manufacturers are down sizing their cars. This can make it challenging to find just the right car. You will need to be more diligent and knowledgeable with your search. Don’t rule out the new small cars, they just might meet all of your criteria.
What we need to look for beside comfort is ease of entry. How wide are the doors and can you easily enter the car. Notice how low or high the car is. The best would be a car that is about even with your natural bend. Also look to see if there is a handle on the door frame to assist your entry. After you try the driver’s side you need to check out the passenger side. Remember that your passengers will have the same considerations as you do. Try all of the doors and all of the seats. Now see how easy it is to exit the car.
Look at the controls on the dash, when you first sit down in the driver’s seat. Can you identify all of them? Some new cars have become traveling computers and unless you are a technocrat you may not appreciate all the high tech clutter on the dash. It can also be dangerous when you need to find something like the defrost button. So make sure you are comfortable with the dashboard and can reach all of the controls.
Sight-lines are also important to us as we get older. Our depth perception may not be as good as it was. Look at the end of the hood, can you easily tell where it is or does it drop out of sight? Check your rear lid with both the mirror and by looking over your shoulder. Check to see if you have any blind spots. Many new cars come with back-up cameras which might be a good option to consider.
The back seat is an entire category which you need to consider. Sometimes it seems as if the car designers just draw it in with little consideration as to who will sit the there. You will want to drive friends and relatives in your backseat. If you have young grandchildren you will need to install a car or booster seat in the back seat. Check out the backseat as you did the front seat. Your passengers are important. Make sure you have anchors for car seats and they are easy to reach. Try the seat belts, are they easy to operate? In my van no one can figure out how to put on the rear belts.
There was a time when an eight cylinder engine was the only way to go, but not today. You will be pleasantly surprised when you drive a car with a four cylinder engine. Today the engine is designed for the car and not an afterthought multi-choice. You might also consider the new hybrids which have a small gas and electric engine but still performs like a regular car. The hybrids are very good on gas mileage.
Today’s cars have many safety features which are either standard or optional. Some of these you should consider. My van has back-up sensors which beep when there is something behind me. Even a child’s ball rolling on the ground will set off the sensor and I am glad it does. I mentioned the back-up cameras above; there are also cameras which view the sides of the vehicle.
Cars can come equipped with a traction control device which will help you control the vehicle in a skid. Some new cars even have a parallel parking assist, which can be a real safety item to get you out of traffic and into a parking spot quickly. Another safety option which is handy for seniors is tire pressure sensors. Soon these will be standard on all cars but for now it is extra. These sensors tell you when a tire is low on air pressure and with self serve gas today we don’t check our tire air pressure often enough.
Your new car purchase will most likely cost you more than your first house did. It is a big decision and today’s cars are built to last a lot longer than they did just a few years ago. The car you buy today may be the last car you’ll have to buy. By following these few simple tips and choosing carefully you’ll be pleased and proud of your new car.