Car Buying Tips For Seniors

Car Buying

Credit: hedgehog94/
Each Saturday, we have†several calls†from people who identify themselves as senior citizens wanting advice on new vehicles. Many were considering going from a sedan to a crossover.

By the time you get to be a senior citizen, you have probably bought a good number of cars. The truth is, even if you donít admit it, you are wondering if this will be your last car, and, frankly that makes you think a little harder and a little longer. When I was the owner of a car dealership, I sold a lot of my customers their ďlast carĒ as many as ten times.

Listeners tell me that as they age, they feel more vulnerable at a car dealership. That is very understandable, there is a lot to consider. Your happiness with a car is one of the most important factors. If you are not in a position to pay cash, you donít want to burden your family with debt should your time come to call it a day. For me, I say get a vehicle you will like, one that is easy to enter and exit, and that makes you happy!

There are a number of things to consider when making a choice for your new wheels.


  • Clearly, safety is one of the most important. All vehicles are safer today than ever before, but new safety options can make your chances of an accident less. A rearview camera is a great feature, as is blind spot monitoring. Both these options offer prevention of accidents. Front and rear parking sensors are becoming common, too, they will keep those small dents and dings off your new set of wheels.


  • Then there is comfort. Make sure the seats are comfortable to you. If you have had back problems, get a car with lumbar support that can make a huge difference. Make sure too you can adjust the steering wheel where it feels good and you have a full view of the road ahead. Check the exterior mirrors to see if visibility is good. If you are in a cold climate, heated seats are nice, and in hot climates, air conditioned seats can make you much more comfortable. Lastly, make sure all controls are in your reach without you having to be right on top of the steering wheel. In the case of an accident, airbags can save your life, but they can also harm you. It is best to stay as far from them as is safe..


  • Then letís talk about access. seniors often buy a new vehicle only to find out it is hard to get into and out of. You may want that last sports car you always dreamed of having, but when it comes time to get into and out of it, you may be miserable. Practice at the dealership entering and exiting to see how you feel. Do it as many times as necessary to make sure you are not going to feel tinges of pain. Usually, SUVs are at a height that most people can ease into and out of the seat.


  • Last, do not leave with your new car until you understand the gadgets in it, no matter how long it takes. Driver distraction can be deadly and it is not worth the risk. Know how everything works so that it is intuitive. If it is too much to absorb when you take delivery, wait a few days then go back to the dealership for more lessons. Practice on your own while parked at home..

Whether it is actually your last vehicle, or you just think it will be your last vehicle, it is an emotional decision. Take your time, do not rush this. If a dealership is trying to pressure you, leave. There are great dealerships out there that will give you patient, prudent, advice.
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On ease of entry and exit of an SUV, there are still problems on the driver's side with lack of hand holds as result of the placement of side air bags also of raised lips at the bottom of the door corresponding with the door opening - especially in parking lots with limited spacing for door openings. Most of the floors are below a threshold on the vehicles. Some greater than others. I have an old 2000 E-150 Ford Van that does not have that problem but it was a Conversion Van which is no longer produced. So ingress and egress are still a problem, especially with this old codger.
The Car Pro
Thanks for chiming in. This is why test drives are some important and also why you should try to make it to an Auto Show to get in and out of as many vehicles as possible in one trip.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Jerry Reynolds
Letecia Purnell. &Stanton Robi
what should I what should I do to dealer stole my car and gave me a a car that he in 2016 when I bought my car in June 2017 on 20th and if you had a car dealer's 17,000 and I don't want that kind of car had died miles on it do you not pick the character just came in and my car it was $29,000 Delta Finance child is almost 40,000 he have to pay back I pay $492 oh my in my insurance was 1000 in 6 months I have adoptable or nothing the car just came in that day every time I get my car insurance then who did it at first name be on it and drop my name in my guy name be on the hill senior citizen he bought so many cars for them that they stole his car so much it's ridiculous but they messed up next old man my car had all the teachers they told us to leave all that paperwork in the car your cousin gave me another key to getting one key pop scratches off my car they change the engine they changed the battery they change the alternator am I comes a diesel you have to believe me then they change the engine and then they think they they cleaned it in the tank and told me that we have cuz it wasn't a D2 they have a big scam going on and I just wanted I want my car but we still attend the note to self but and then they got so many cruises that is ridiculous they got a big scam going on and he doesn't realize it but I never cop it and they stole it
The Car Pro
I am sorry, I am not at all following this. What little I can gather it sounds like you need an Attorney.

If you want to re-send it where it makes better sense, I'll help if I can.

Jerry Reynolds
James Richter
I have been purchasing Honda automobiles for the last 39 years and I have been highly satisfied with their performance, reliance, and long life when properly maintained. Over the last few years I have experienced thigh pain when driving any of our Hondas over one and a half hours or longer. This pain makes it very uncomfortable to drive over these long time periods. I have heard that Honda's have a reputation for harder seats (along with road noise) and now I tend to believe it. Can anyone recommend another brand of car that is just reliable as Hondas but with more comfortable seats? I am assuming that the seats and my older age (now 62) are the cause of the pain. I would also not mind now driving a car taller than my usual Honda Accord, to improve my view ahead. Thank you in advance for any recommendations that I receive!
Amy P.
Check out Nissan products, they tend to have really comfortable and supportive seats. Let's see if that might make things better.
Not sure where you are but I have good Nissan dealers all over.

Jerry Reynolds, President
Car Pro Radio Network
Tom C
First- Take your wallet out of your back pocket - That can cause a lot of problems especially if it is thick.
Do not expect overnight success as back problems usually take time.

I drive a new (2018) Volvo and find the seats extremely comfortable, Had the car 2 years and 0 problems.
The Car Pro
Thanks for sharing Tom.

Jerry Reynolds
Gary Loverich
I am 63 and 6 feet 2 inches. I was having the same issue. What I found out is that the length of the seat is the issue. Some vehicles have a shorter seat length so you thigh is not supported. My 2017 Honda Accord is over 20 inches. I had issues with several vehicles as there length was only 19. That 1.5 inches made a huge difference.
Dennis Komes
Just a comment of two. I guess I am now a senior. As of tomorrow, I will be closer to 80 than 79. I have been buying vehicles for a lot of years and have had quite a few. I see many of our friends rushing out to buy SUVs because they are the cool thing to do. Sometimes I wonder if they really give any thought to what they are going to use it for. I have owned sedans, coupes, BIG SUVs ( Suburbans and Tahoes), Pickups (two one tons) and as I have settled down to passengers vehicles, I have chosen the minivan. I am now on my fourth. Not needing towing capacity or load carrying capability, I now occasionally need to carry larger items that require volume, not weight, and passengers. So, I am now on my fourth Minivan. They are the perfect vehicle for seniors. They perform everything well except "all wheel drive."
Joseph Wilkes
I imagine minivans are great for transporting grandchildren, too. I just turned 65, and my wife and I don't have grandchildren yet. Maybe I'll eventually move to a minivan. I've never had one. It will be a difficult transition, since I have always really liked, and have always owned, large high end sedans. But, sadly for me, they are going the way of the buffalo.
Amy P.
Dennis, I hear that a lot from Seniors, which you are not yet, but point taken. There are nice advantages to them for sure, especially ingress and egress.

I appreciate you sharing your thoughts!

Jerry Reynolds
Not sure if a minivan is same as a van but most vans are too big to fit into my 65yr old garage---and that is a requirement.
Is a minivan smaller than a Van? I do like the idea of a van.
The Car Pro
Yes, there are vans and there are minivans, with the latter being smaller. I typically recommend the Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna.

Jerry Reynolds
B. Creasman
I am a senior and also just love minivans. Very easy to load anything. Seats are multifunctional, and they are just very comfortable. I have had both a Sienna and an Odyssey. Both were great.
The Car Pro
Thanks for sharing. People who love minivans tend to REALLY love them. I get it! I hope you have a great Thanksgiving.

Jerry Reynolds