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Tips for Buying a Car in Retirement

For many people, retirement can last a long time. If you’re looking to buy a new car during retirement, consider one that’s built to go the distance right along with you. Today’s new cars are loaded with electronic perks that can help retirees “age in place” with their cars, with features designed to help aging eyes, bodies, senses and reflexes remain responsive.

 

However, all those new bells and whistles can be mind boggling if you haven’t bought a new car in a while. The dashboard might look like something from a spaceship in a “Star Wars” movie. The following are some features that might be helpful to an older driver.1

 

  • Not too high, not too low — If you want to buy your retirement sports car, be aware they often sit lower to the ground, making it more challenging to get in and out of the car; likewise, a tall SUV may be difficult to climb into.
  • Adjustable lumbar support — For those with back pain.
  • Heated seats — Help alleviate back pain and are a welcome luxury for people in cold-weather climates.
  • Auto tailgate — Automatically opens and closes the trunk or rear door to avoid reaching or straining.
  • Automatic wipers — A sensor turns them on or off and sets the appropriate speed for conditions.
  • Backup camera — This feature is activated in reverse and provides the driver with a video image on a dashboard screen that reveals what is behind the car; it is particularly helpful for people who have trouble twisting or turning their neck.
  • Parallel parking assistance — Senses and enables the car to parallel park with the touch of a button.

 

The downside to all these high-tech features is that car buying has become more complicated than simply taking one out for a test drive. Some may require a learning curve for all the new controls and infotainment systems. Also remember, the more high-tech the features, the more things that can break and be costly to repair or replace.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to research and try out cars with the features that best match your needs, and not be seduced by the flashy bells and whistles.

1 AAA. “Find the Right Vehicle for You.” http://seniordriving.aaa.com/maintain-mobility-independence/car-buying-maintenance-assistive-accessories/smartfeatures/. Accessed Jan. 7, 2018.