Buying a new car is exciting, but it is also one of the most stressful experiences in modern life. The process is not transparent or easy. Although most people walk onto a car lot expecting to find a decent set of wheels at an affordable price, car salesmen are well-versed at convincing all customers that they can afford to spend just a little more for something “better”.

Yes, they will probe you for information about your income and your trade-in or down payment amount, and then show you several payment options for more expensive vehicles. Before you know it, you will be the proud new owner of a luxury sedan with leather seats, a moonroof, and two flat-screen TVs.

In the back of your mind, you will think that maybe this wasn’t the wisest choice, but then you will catch your first whiff of new car smell and all of your worries will subside. After all, you bring in enough bacon every month to pay your car payment. There can’t be that many additional costs of owning an expensive vehicle, right? Well, there are a few things, actually.

Many Years of Payments

One sure way to know that you really can’t afford a car is by looking at how many years it is going to take to pay off your loan. If the loan is going to take longer than three years to pay off, you may want to rethink the purchase. The longer you take to pay off your loan, the more money you will have to spend on interest. You will also begin to feel the pains of paying for something that is no longer new or valuable.

Luxury Vehicles Cost More to Insure

Generally, expensive, foreign cars cost more to insure, because they cost more to repair. Parts aren’t always easy to find, and certified mechanics usually must make the repairs. Their replacement values are also higher because their resale values are generally higher. This means that it costs car insurance companies more money to pay for a totaled luxury vehicle than a totaled economy vehicle. Make sure you have the income to pay a higher car loan payment and a higher car insurance payment before you purchase an expensive car.

Luxury Vehicles Cost More to Maintain

As for upkeep, luxury vehicles always cost more to maintain, because they often require the use of special synthetic motor oils and brand name parts. As stated before, foreign luxury vehicles (which make up the majority of the American market) also often require owners to go to a certified mechanic who charges more for special maintenance.

Is It Worth It?

As you can see, there are many additional costs associated with purchasing a high-end vehicle. Before you agree to sign off on a car loan, be sure to analyze the pros and cons of owning a more expensive car. Sure, you will look sharp and be guaranteed high resale value, but are those things worth spending more money on? Would it be wiser for you to buy a less expensive car and put the extra money in a savings or retirement account?

What it really comes down to is income. Your income must be stable and large enough to cover the costs of buying and owning a luxury vehicle while still leaving you with enough extra cash to afford other large life purchases, like a house. If you believe that you will have to make any financial sacrifices to own a luxury vehicle, turn the car around now. It’s not worth the hassle.

Susan Wells is a freelance blogger who enjoys writing about automotive and health news, technology, lifestyle, and personal finance. She often researches and writes about automobile insurance, helping consumers find the best car insurance quotes online. Susan welcomes your questions or comments below!