Purchasing a new car is an accident waiting to happen for an unwary customer. When searching for a new vehicle, being prepared is step one to negotiating the lowest price on a new car. That entails you avoiding the most common car buying mistakes that buyers make.
Car Buying Mistakes to Avoid
Listed below are nine car buying mistakes that could land you in the wrong vehicle for an inflated price.
Not enough research
Before you set foot on a new car lot you need to have a very good idea of:
- what sort of new vehicle you’re looking for
- how much you can honestly afford
- and which particular features and options you want
If you don’t do your research, you are leaving yourself at the mercy of the car dealer’s sales techniques.
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Giving in to sales pressure
As soon as you’ve completed your research, make sure you stick to whatever decisions you made. Don’t allow the salesperson to pressure you into picking a model of vehicle that you do not know anything about, or a vehicle that does not fit your needs just because you are told it’s brilliant, or that you can get a great deal.
Taking unneeded upgrades
New car dealers make most of their money by selling extra items. Once you’ve shown interest in a particular car, you can expect to be offered options like enhanced warranties or technological gizmos from vehicle accessories to elaborate in-car entertainment systems. In the event that you hadn’t decided on those before you did your research, don’t be tempted to pay extra for them without careful thought.
Not shopping around
Even if a dealer’s offer appears to match your research, there’s nothing to be gained by accepting it then and there. Regardless of the salesperson’s protests, the car will probably still be there tomorrow. Do not be afraid to walk away and look elsewhere for a better deal — if nothing else, this will encourage the dealer to consider making a better offer.
Being afraid to bargain
Always treat the windshield sticker price as a starting point, not a figure that’s set in stone. Most new car dealers have a lot of room to make a bargain, so don’t be afraid to bargain to end up with a lesser price. Being prepared to negotiate may gain you additional benefits like free window tint or a better finance plan.
Taking dealer financing without thought
And speaking of finance, you are unlikely to get a great car loan package from a dealer — at least, not without a little effort. Most new car dealerships take a cut of any financing they sell, so it’s in their interests to make you pay as much as possible. If you can, arrange credit from a cheaper source like your bank or credit union. If that is not possible, at least wait a while before accepting any financing plan to see if you’re able to negotiate a lower rate.
Being burned on trade-ins
No matter how old your existing car is, do not be sold short on a trade-in. If a dealer says they are doing you a favor just by taking it off your hands, look elsewhere instantly. Any working automobile is worth a good price so find out what you can expect on the secondhand market, and be sure that you’re offered at least that amount as a trade-in deal.
Even in the event that you’ve discovered the perfect new car at a fantastic price and the finance seems to stack up, do not forget to include the prices of insurance, gasoline consumption, and repairs into your calculations. If you invest a lot up front in the vehicle, you could easily find yourself struggling to pay the running expenses needed to keep it on the street.
Unrealistic test drive
One of the worst car buying mistakes is signing on the dotted line without a proper test drive. You have to do more than take a car for a spin round the block. If you’re planning to do a lot of highway driving, make sure you include this on your test drive. Likewise, if your driving will largely be in town, try out the vehicle in heavy traffic to find out how it responds.
It is too easy to be on the wrong side of a bargain when confronted with a professional car salesman. But with a little groundwork, plenty of research, and a touch of hardheadedness, you can make sure you come out with a great car at a reasonable cost and avoid these 9 common car buying mistakes.