Buying a car is one of the most important decisions in your life. Not only do you want to purchase the right vehicle that will give you years and years of service, but you also need to consider how safe it is. It’s no exaggeration that every decision you make could have eternal consequences, so it’s crucial to fully understand how safe a car is before making any purchases.
Whether you’re buying a new vehicle from a dealership or purchasing a used vehicle that you found on a social media marketplace, you must follow through on some research. If you plan on driving your kids, pets, or just yourself in your vehicle, it’s important to take time to properly research any vehicles you are considering. Three different ratings out there measure how safe a vehicle is in an accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Standardized Testing and Ratings Program uses a five-star rating system.
At the same time, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives vehicles their ratings separate from NHTSA. Finally, J.D. Power & Associates came up with their ratings, measuring many aspects of a vehicle instead of just one number. Knowing all these ratings is important to ensure you’re getting as much safety as possible for your dollar.
*5 Star – Most reliable, highest crash ratings. Sticking with the vehicles that fall under this category is a good idea.
*4 Star – These are good choices, too. They have a lower crash rating than 5 Star but are still reliable.
*3 Star – Average vehicle in safety rating. They do not have many crash ratings so you can experience more problems in the vehicle.
*2 Star – Lower safety rating, with a risk of serious or fatal injury in a crash. You can still get a car like this to work, but you’re taking the chance that this vehicle will not act correctly in the event of an accident.
*1 Star – This is the bottom of the barrel regarding vehicle safety ratings. No matter how much a manufacturer tries to make you think otherwise, do not buy one of these cars. To avoid being scammed and losing money on an unsafe car, ensure you are fully informed before purchasing.
Because there are so many different types of vehicles, it can take time to tell which one is right for you. Luckily, most companies will tell you what that vehicle’s overall safety rating is in their ads or websites. With these ratings clearly outlined for your convenience, you can make an educated decision based on the safety and reliability of any given vehicle.
If you still need help determining a vehicle’s safety rating, closely examine the specific ratings. A 2 and a 1-star vehicle will have low scores in all the major categories. These vehicles should be avoided, even if they have other features that make them appealing to you. No matter what vehicle you’re purchasing, it’s best to research its ratings fully. There is no better way to ensure you get the safest vehicle possible for your buck.