It is hard to recommend which cars for military members under the best of circumstances. As with any other sector of our society, military service members demonstrate a wide variety of needs, preferences and tastes in vehicles. Simply put, what is a great car for one sailor or soldier may not work for another. What one airman or marine finds to the best car for their money may simply not be acceptable to others.
While it is hard to suggest which cars are best for any particular service member, we can, however, offer some good guidelines on choosing vehicles that will best fit your budget, lifestyle and surroundings. Here are things to consider when trying to find the best cars for military members.
Choose Affordable Vehicles
Everyone knows that our military service members work really hard and receive relatively low compensation for their considerable efforts. So, if you're in the military, you should take this into account when shopping for a new or used vehicle.
Whether you are relatively new to military service or are a veteran of many years, you should choose a vehicle that is affordable. In most cases, it is recommended you choose a vehicle where the monthly payment will be no more than 25 to 30% of your net monthly take-home pay. Choosing vehicles that allow for monthly payments in this percentage range will usually also leave enough left over for fuel and insurance payments. Even if you're single and live on base or post, you shouldn't throw your entire monthly salary into your vehicle.
Choose Reliable Vehicles
Regardless of the type of vehicle you choose, you should always attempt to purchase reliable cars or trucks. Before you go out shopping, spend some time researching the Internet and search for both consumer and professional reviews on the types of vehicles you're interested in.
Rather than focus on one particular make and model vehicle, you should attempt to compare several vehicles in a seminar class. For example, if you're interested in a smaller sedan, you might want to compare ratings and reviews for popular vehicles such as the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla or other popular small sized sedan. Always attempt to make informed purchasing decisions based on reliability and value and not simply on good looks or style.
Buy Vehicles Appropriate for Your Area
Before you purchase a vehicle, you should also consider the area where you are stationed as well as how far your residence is from your duty station. If you live on base, then fuel economy probably won't be much of a concern to you, as you will usually only use your vehicle when traveling off post. However, if you need to commute a long distance every day back and forth from your home to your duty station, then you may want to choose vehicles with smaller engines that offer better fuel economy.
Also, if you'll be traveling through highly congested traffic areas, you may want to choose smaller more fuel-efficient vehicles. Likewise, if you are stationed in a colder northern climate, then choosing an open-air or convertible sports car may not be the wisest decision. Choose vehicles that are appropriate to your environment and surroundings.
Consider Shipping Costs of a Vehicle
If you find yourself being transferred frequently between duty stations, you might also want to consider the size and weight of your vehicle. Unless the military will be paying for the cost of shipping your vehicle to your new duty station, shipping costs will come out of your pocket. So choosing smaller, lighter vehicles can save you a lot of money in shipping your car to and from different duty stations.