The usefulness of setting up requirements can be incorporated into practically all decision processes, including choosing a car. Choosing the perfect car is simplified when you identify all the things you must have in your car (your requirements) and disregard all of those that are unimportant to you. Recently I came to the point where I had to trade in my old college car for something with less rust, leaks, and funny smells. At the beginning, I was not sure what exactly I wanted, so I started with all the models sold in the US (according to Consumer Report, there are about 400 different automobile models without including the high-end luxury cars that cost more than my parent’s house). Choosing between a few hundred models can be overwhelming, so I needed to find a requirement to narrow my search down. My eureka moment came when I saw three beautiful women riding in a convertible being driven by a short ugly man. This narrowed my options down to convertibles (about 60 available models).
I started doing research and noticed that soft top convertibles have a much higher rate of break-ins due to the fact that soft tops are made of a light (penetrable) fabric. Since this only applied to soft tops, I decided to narrow it done down to only hardtops (about 10 available models).
Of those hard top convertibles, I needed one that sat at least four; after all, I wanted to emulate the gentleman that inspired my convertible requirements search to begin with (6 available models).
Then, I started looking at pricing and warranty. Since I do not want to have the hassle of a car breaking down (hard tops are notorious for having mechanical issues), I narrowed it down to models with at least a few years left on its manufacturer’s warranty. However, because all new hard top convertibles are pricy and loan rates for used cars are at an all-time low, I decided that a certified used car would be the best alternative. I found two models that matched my requirements and price. From there, I constructed a spread sheet that gave a point to the winner in each of these five categories: insurance rate, safety, attractiveness, gas mileage, and yearly wear-and-tear costs. The model with the most points was the one I chose to purchase.
Notice that I excluded features that might have been important to others such as: horse power, car manufacturer, towing capacity, four-wheel drive, manufacturer’s nationality, etc. The process flow diagram (exhibited below) is the way I chose my car but it can certainly be altered to fit any features that one has for their next car.