Buying a car, new or used is one of the most expensive purchases you’ll ever have to make. It’s a complex process and can be overwhelming. It therefore needs careful consideration otherwise you just might regret your decisions later – when it’s probably too late.
Common pitfalls to Avoid When Buying a Car:
Not Taking a Test Drive
The test drive is one of the most important parts of the car buying process. In fact, you should never consider buying a car without a test drive. A test drive will tell you things you need to know about the car such as how easy it is for you to get in and out of the car, whether it has enough head-room, hip-room and leg-room, how comfortable the car to drive, etc. You don’t want to find out that the car starts to vibrate at 70mph after you’ve already taken delivery of the car.
Not Doing Any Online Research
The Internet has made it a lot easier to research any car online. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell a used car, you need to be a cunning consumer and a canny buyer. You want to be able to come to a fair and equitable price for whatever vehicle you’re interested in buying.
Finding out the exact worth of the car you want to buy is a crucial step in the negotiation process. You want to give the seller a fair profit, but you don’t want to lose your shirt in the process.
The fact of the matter is, if you don’t know exactly how much a car is worth, you won’t be in a strong negotiating position and are likely to lose money because the party with this information will have the upper hand. The more you find out the actual worth of a car, the better prepared you will be to give the dealer a fair return on investment.
In addition, check out car reviews on consumer reports. Research crash test statistics. Read owner feedback. Don’t just believe the dealer when he/ she tells you that all is well. If a dealer is offering a truly fantastic deal on a particular model, research the model vociferously. Take note of all the recalls happening left and right. You don’t want to be subjected to that.
Buying a Car Not Right For You
Buying a car is not a purchase that you jump into without careful considering your requirements. You need to be absolutely convinced that the car you’re buying will suit your needs because buying the wrong car can wreak havoc on your finances.
If you have a very small family or will only need a large vehicle on an occasional basis, there’s no point saddling yourself with a Ford Expedition. You’ll do better matching your general needs, and renting a vehicle for the special occasions, like family trips.
Rushing to Buy
Purchasing a car cannot be a rush decision. It is crucial to take your time so that you are making an informed purchase that you won’t later regret. Keep your emotions firmly in check when making the decision, because buying the wrong car could prove to be an expensive mistake.
Take your time, even if it means that you have to rent a car for a few weeks in order to bridge the gap between your old car and your new one.
Buying a Used Car Online Without Seeing It
Buying a used car online without seeing it is a big risk, and could easily turn out to be a big mistake. You do not buy a car without inspecting or scrutinizing every inch of that automobile.
Don’t go by pictures of the word of the seller. You need to actually check it out for yourself.
Not Sticking to Your Budget
Once you have a clear idea of your needs and how much you can reasonably afford to spend, it is important to stick to this budget.
Don’t make the mistake of being talked into buying a car or features and accessories that will end up costing much more than you’ve already budgeted for.
Stick to your budget and make sure that you can afford the car that you’re buying so that you can avoid buyer’s remorse.
Not Pre-Shopping For Financing
You’ll be in a strong negotiating position by getting a range of pre-approved offers before you head on out to the dealership.
If you haven’t taken the time to pre-shop for financing offers at your personal bank or credit union, you can be sure that the dealership will do everything in their power to try to convince you into signing up for financing that profits the dealer more than it helps you pay off your debt.
Getting pre-approved for financing means that the dealer will have to compete for your business by offering similar or better offers.
Trading In Your Car
For many of us, the process of buying a new set of wheels often involves having to also get rid of our current car. One of the options available is to trade it in (also known as part exchange in the UK) to the dealer we’re buying our new car from.
On the face of it, trading in your car sounds like a really convenient way to avoid going through the hassle of selling your old car. However, trading in your car is a mistake that will always cost you money. You’ll never win. You’ll likely get offered less money for your car.
It’s almost certain that the dealer will offer you much less than your car is worth. It’s called lowballing, and virtually all car dealers do this. Although trading in your car to purchase a new one is quick, easy and convenient, you will get much more if you sell your car privately.
Even if you owe money on your old car, you’ll do better selling it on your own, or even selling it to a dealer, as long as you don’t get involved in the trade-in process.