Common Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Car

Have you decided to buy a new car or do you feel sick after buying a new car? Why is buying a car so complicated? It shouldn’t be and we’ll tell you a few things to look out for to avoid all that stress. Well, is it going to be a brand spanking new car or is your frugal mind telling you to get a used car? Should you buy a gas or an electric vehicle? Will you be able to outfox the car salesman or will you come out of the dealers lot wondering if you got taken? So many uncertainties…so much of stress. Car buying should be a fun and exciting adventure and we’ve a few precautions you can take to avoid making mistakes.

Are you ready to have a great experience and not have anxiety after buying a car? So, here goes…

Don’t fall in love at first sight:

You’ve to go into a car-buying process with clinical precision and a heart of stone. You’ll need it especially when dealing with car salesmen. So, don’t fall head-over-heels in love with a car model. It’s easy to overlook some of the key features of a car and convince yourself that you can do without them. So go in with a list of things you need in a car, rather than a car brand and model. If you’re single, perhaps a two-seater coupe would be the way to go. If you’re married with no children, maybe a more spacious car and if you do have children, then think long term and go for a van maybe. A 4WD for the adventurer in you. A convertible for that wind-in-the-hair feeling.

And, remember that ‘stone cold heart’ that you came with to buy a car. That will come handy when you get into serious negotiations with the car salesman. Showing your weakness for a car make/model is like losing the battle even before it started. So, leave your emotions outside when you step into a car dealer’s showroom. Go get ‘em, Tiger!

Take the car for a spin:

If you’re a patient person with a lot of time on your hands, take all the test drives you can before buying a car. If you’re a busy person, then research all the cars that match your requirements and then shortlist a few of the cars and dealers before you take a test drive. Whatever else you decide to save time on, don’t you dare avoid a test drive. Take it for a spin…check out its external appearance, the interior space, gadgets, trunk space, leg space, headspace, etc. Feel comfortable? How does it drive? Is it low on the road or high up in the clouds? And, of course, take your family along for a ride. A couple of heads is better than just yours alone. Don’t let the salesperson push you into committing until you’re well and ready.

Negotiate till the cows come home…or not:

There are two types of car dealers. One, that has haggle-free pricing and clean operation, where you don’t have to worry about negotiating. Two, and the more stressful dealer, is the dealer where negotiation is everything.  That’s where you stick to your guns and be prepared to walk out to prove your resolve! The secret to good negotiation is spending time to research car prices before you enter a car showroom. You never pay sticker price unless you’re buying a Tesla Electric, where there’s no negotiation. Decide one thing when you go to buy a car…that you’re NOT going to pay a car’s sticker price!

The best way to negotiate is to email a bunch of dealers and ask them to quote you a price and all that it comes with. Question everything. There are multitudes of taxes and charges on the car that a dealer will add even after the negotiations are over. Don’t let them! Check for discounts online or get a deal from your local AAA. Then, renegotiate with a select few of the dealers and give them counter offers from your side. Once you make a final deal, go in, take a test drive, check/sign all the paperwork and get the car home!

A surefire way of avoiding all this stress…go to a haggle-free dealer, where the prices are competitive and they won’t take you for a ride.

Get smart…financing:

Again, there are luxury car dealers who are sincere and want to help you get good deals on financing and there are dealers that will commit highway robbery to sell you a car and get the financing for you. The former kind are genuinely trying to help. The latter is where the tricky part is. So, you do this…

The search for a good deal starts with finding a bank or financial institution that has the best interest rates on car loans. Do this before you visit dealers to buy cars, but don’t reveal to them that you’ve secured financing for the car. If not, the dealer will use their own affiliated bank or financial institution that may end up charging you a much higher interest rate or otherwise include unnecessary fees and charges to increase their own profits. Remember, the financiers have to pay the dealer some commissions for getting you to them.

Accessories! Accessories!! Accessories!!!

You might be a big fan of Vin Diesel in ‘Fast and Furious’ and may want your car to look like his in the movie. Be wary though…every little thing that you decide to add-on to the car increases the price of the car. Dealers may have other means to lure you into buying more. Rear spoilers, bodypaint / corrosion protection, window etching, fancy external stickers and decals, etc. It would be prudent to remember that you can always add some of that fancy stuff for much cheaper outside the dealer. So, stick to the essentials on the car you’re interested in. Once the deal is final, ask for add-ons like free oil changes, free car washes, discounted/free maintenance, etc. That way, they won’t secretly tag the price on to your monthly payment.

And…there you have it…

In conclusion, it helps to keep some of the things, mentioned above, in mind when you are ready to buy a car. Negotiating with a car salesperson is tough, but if you stand your ground and ensure that you don’t show them what you’re thinking about, you’ll come out winning every time. Essentially, you need a poker face to beat the odds.

Good luck!