Some Tips for Buying a Family-Friendly Vehicle

By guest blogger and author Michelle Odland

Looking to replace the family truckster on a budget?  Here are a few things to remember when buying a family car so your travels will be happier with kids:

1.  Ample foot space between the back seat and the front seats.  This is especially important if the seats are made of upholstery.  Once the kids face forward in their car seats, they will want to kick the back of your seat.  The more distance you have, the less chance of grimy shoe stains on the fabric or the feel of thudding in the back of your seat.

2.  Auto lock doors and windows.  Most cars automatically lock doors now when they are in drive and the back seat riders shouldn't be able to open the door to see what the road looks like under them.  But windows are important too; your loving child might hold an object hostage, such as threatening to drop their sister's favorite stuffed bear out the window.  Unless you want to suffer the consequences of calling their bluff, hit the lock button and keep those windows up.

3.  A good stereo system.  There's a bonus if you are able to snag a vehicle with a built in DVD player.  Listening to a Disney movie in peace is preferable to the chorus of "Are we there yet?" or "Dad, he's touching my arm!"  If there is no DVD player you can always crank up the radio to drown them out.

4.  Storage.  The bigger your family the more stuff you will carry.  A nice-sized trunk can hold groceries, the stroller, your suitcases, baby swing, cases of diapers or whatever else you travel with.  Naturally, you can stuff these items inside the car as well, but you might need that seat to separate your children.

Besides those things make sure you get the CarFax report.  Take a look for any obvious repairs or dings that could have indicated an accident.  Also try to find something with low miles if you will want to keep this vehicle for awhile. In no time at all, you and your family will be cruising down the road without a care in the world.

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