Buying a new car is one of the biggest financial commitments you will make, so you want to be sure that you’re getting the most bang for your buck when it comes to getting that new vehicle.
There are lots of things that you should do when it comes to buying a new car – but there are also lots of common mistakes which people make. Chances are everyone has committed at least one of the mistakes on the list below when dealing with car salesmen.
In fact, dealing with salesmen is perhaps the trickiest part of buying a new car. They will do anything to make you feel like they’re your friend and that they are doing their best to help you, but never forget that they are mostly interested in their sales commission and will do almost anything to get it.
Stand your ground when dealing with car salesmen, and don’t let them talk you into buying something that you don’t want or need. That’s rule number one when it comes to buying a new car, even if you forget everything else on this list!
In an ideal world, however, you would manage to avoid all of these 20 common mistakes people make when buying a new car, but we all know the world isn't perfect!
20 Ignoring Online Research
Don’t forget that the internet can also be a very valuable resource when you are starting out with your car shopping adventure. It helps not only for finding honest and unbiased reviews of new cars, but also for finding and comparing the prices of the same vehicle at different dealerships in your area.
You might even find that a dealership a few towns over is selling your dream car for a few hundred dollars less than the guy down the road.
Most dealers have an online presence these days, and this includes a comprehensive list of the cars they currently have for sale and at what price. Who said the internet was just a place to get into political arguments with strangers?
19 Ignoring Test Drives
The internet may be a great place to do some research, but whatever you do, don’t buy a car based solely on online reviews and photographs. After all, the only way you can really figure out if a vehicle is the right one for you is to get behind the wheel yourself.
Whether you are buying from a dealership or a private sale, you must insist on a test drive before you hand over your hard-earned cash.
Test drives may only last an hour or so, but you can learn a lot about a car in that time, especially if you put it through its paces, testing out different road surfaces and different traffic conditions to see how it copes with highway driving and traffic jams alike.
18 Not Figuring Out The Total Amount The Car Loan Will Cost
When it comes to buying a car, you need to be a bit of a mathematician as well as a motoring expert if you want to get the best deal. Most people need to take out a loan to pay for a new car. Not many of us are lucky enough to have several thousand dollars sitting in our bank accounts!
While it is important to get a loan that has affordable monthly payments, too many people become fixated on that monthly figure and don’t bother working out how much they’re going to be paying overall before they sign on the dotted line.
Don’t be too keen to agree to loans which seem affordable before checking what percentage the finance company is going to be charging, or you could end up paying far too much for your vehicle.
17 Making Uninformed Trades
A great way to save some cash on a new car is to trade in your old one and put the money towards a deal. In fact, it’s such a common way to buy a new car that most dealerships even offer trade-ins, allowing you to take care of all your financial transactions in just one place.
You can end up paying for this convenience, though, as dealerships might not offer you the best deal for your old car in a bid to maximize their profits on the whole deal. It depends which you value more, your money or your time. Chances are you will be able to make more cash if you sell your old car privately, but that can take a few weeks and a lot of waiting around for potential customers to come and see it.
16 Ignoring Long Term Costs
Too many consumers only look at the sticker price when they go to the local dealership to buy a new car, failing to take into consideration all the different long-term costs associated with owning and operating their own vehicle.
This is a mistake which is even more common among people who are buying their very first car, as they have simply no idea just how expensive it is to pay for gasoline, auto insurance and the seemingly never-ending mechanical repairs when you have your own set of wheels.
A good car salesman should be able to give you an indication of expected gasoline and insurance costs, but the only way to be sure you can afford what you’re buying is to do your own research.
15 Buying Under Pressure
Car salesman may have a reputation for putting their customers under a lot of pressure to buy, but there is someone else who can end up putting consumers under pressure: themselves!
If you know that you need or want to buy a new car, make sure you start your research early and give yourself plenty of time to shop around and find the perfect deal rather than settling for something which doesn’t suit your needs because you put unrealistic pressure on yourself to make a purchase.
No one ever makes a good purchase when they are feeling stressed and under pressure. It's the same whether you’re spending thousands of dollars on a new car or a hundred dollars on a new outfit.
14 Not Doing Your Homework
One of the worst mistakes you can make when buying a new car is to not do your homework. It’s simply common sense to put plenty of research into what kind of cars are on the market, what type of vehicle will suit the needs of you and your family and, most importantly, what motors are safely within your budget.
Research can take a lot of forms – everything from reading motoring magazines to talking to friends and neighbors about the cars they drive.
In fact, if you find yourself becoming obsessed with things like miles-per-gallon, horsepower and torque, then you’re probably doing just the right amount of homework to ensure you don’t make a terrible mistake when it comes to handing over your hard earned cash.
13 Failure To Shop Around
We have already established that car salesmen are generally not to be trusted, and that their main goal in selling you a car is to pick up a bigger pay check. However, avoiding car dealerships altogether when shopping for a new car is not only next to impossible, it is also unwise.
After all, where else can you see so many cars in the same place at once?
Make sure you visit more than one dealership. In fact, visit as many as you possibly can. This will give you a much better idea of what is out there, what the going rate is for the car you want to buy, and you may even pick up some helpful tips from car salesmen. Hey, they’re not all monsters.
12 Accepting Financing From Local Dealership Without Considering Other Options
The car itself isn’t the only thing you need to shop around for when it comes to buying a new vehicle. Far too many people simply take a financing option from their local dealership without even considering that there might be better deals on a car loan available elsewhere.
Naturally, the salesman at your local dealership is going to tell you that they offer the best loan options, as they get even more commission if they sell you a car and shackle you up to one of their financial deals. Even if you find the right car at the right price, there is no shame in walking away if you haven’t got your financing in place. Don’t feel under pressure to agree to their loan if you haven’t already checked out a few other options.
11 Being Unrealistic
The importance of doing your research will become clear once you actually head to the dealership for the first time. If you haven’t looked into what kind of car might suit you best (and how much it is likely to cost you) then you could be in for a nasty surprise!
Buyers have to be realistic about what they are able to afford.
Failure to do so will only lead to disappointment or a fruitless search to find your dream car for a dream price. You may have your heart set on a brand new Bugatti Veyron, but unless you have $1.5 million burning a hole in your pocket you’ll be left empty-handed. That is, of course, unless you’re willing to come up with a more realistic shopping list.
10 Failure To Know Pros And Cons Of New Or Used Cars
There’s something wonderful about buying a brand new vehicle, and it's not just that “new car smell!" Not only are new cars less likely to break down, but even if they do they should be covered by a warranty from the dealership.
Second hand cars are much cheaper though, and if they've been well-maintained by previous owners then they can still have a long life ahead of them. Too many people shopping for cars, especially people buying their first car, assume that buying a new car is the best option, when there can be some great vehicles – at great prices – for sale on used car lots. So long as you take precautions to check the quality of a used vehicle, you can find some amazing deals by shopping second hand.
9 Choosing Aesthetics Over Function
There are lots of good reasons to choose one car over another, but there are also lots of bad reasons! Lots of consumers choose to buy a car based on how it looks or even its color, despite the fact that these have no bearing on how efficient the vehicle will be or whether it will suit their needs.
No one is saying that you have to choose an ugly car just to fit the whole family in the back or save a few dollars on gasoline, but don’t let your heart rule your head when it comes to making a final decision on which car to buy. Make sure you consider all aspects of the vehicles you look at - including what is under the hood - before you hand over your cash.
8 Not Buying What You Need
There is little point in shelling out thousands of dollars on a slick little roadster if you’re a family man with four kids. Where exactly are you planning on putting the children in your two seater sports car?
The number of seats isn’t the only calculation you need to make before deciding if a car is the right one for you; given the cost of gasoline, you might also need to change your mind and choose a more fuel efficient motor.
A car you buy has to meet your needs, and it might be that you have to change your mind about what type of vehicle you want to buy if you discover that the make and model you have your heart set on isn’t able to do what you need it to do.
7 Not Learning From Past Mistakes
When buying a second hand car, whether you are buying it at a used car lot or through a private sale, the most important piece of information you need is the vehicle’s history. The car’s current owner should have this information on hand, and if they don’t then that should ring alarm bells!
Even if they do claim to have a comprehensive vehicle history, you should always carry out your own check using the car’s VIN number.
This number should be easy enough to find and it will be able to tell you if the car has been involved in any accidents and whether there have been any major mechanical or body problems with the vehicle. The owner may well be telling you the truth about the car’s past, but there is no harm in doing some checking yourself.
6 Ignoring Expert Opinion
Even if the vehicle history looks clean, that isn’t the whole story. While major mechanical failures and accidents are included, smaller repairs are not. While your chosen second hand car may look to be in good condition on the surface, you never know what could be hiding under the hood!
Before you agree to buy, make sure that you have the car checked by your own mechanic; if the seller has nothing to hide, then they should have no problems having someone give the motor the once over. If they refuse, then it’s probably best to walk away from the deal. If your mechanic finds a minor fault that is easy to fix, you might even be able to use that flaw to knock a few hundred dollars off the asking price!
5 Looking For Extra Features You Don’t Actually Need
For our next common mistake when buying a new car, we’re heading back to the dealership and those pushy salesmen. It’s bad enough that car salesmen are willing to encourage shoppers to buy cars that aren’t right for them just to get the commission, but they also try to persuade consumers who have ended up with the right vehicle at a good price that they need lots of extra features in order to get the perfect car when the basic model would suit them just fine.
Don’t feel obliged to agree to any of the extras just because the salesman tells you they are essential. If you never listen to music in the car, why on earth would you need a top of the line sound system?
4 Failure To Stick To The Plan
Although the best advice is to visit more than one dealership and to shop around before committing to buying a new vehicle, it can be very difficult to stick to that rule when you fall in love with the very first car you see at the very first dealership you visit. It can be so very tempting to buy it there and then if you find your dream car straight away – especially if the salesman senses your interest and tells you how much interest there has been in that vehicle already and that he can’t guarantee how long it’ll be before it sells.
Stick to your guns and stick to your plan. You may just find that same perfect car at another dealership for a lot less money!
3 Not Sticking To The Budget
We're sure you have a dream car in mind that you would love to own and drive one day, just as we're sure you also have a limit on how much you can spend on that car!
Buying a car is a major financial commitment. It's one that should you approach sensibly, deciding on your budget before you even start looking for a new vehicle and sticking to it rigidly, no matter what temptations are put in your way.
That budget should apply both to the sticker price and the monthly payments if you’re going to be taking out an auto loan. Don’t let anyone talk you into breaking the budget you’ve set, even by just a few dollars. Once you’ve spent more than you mean to, it’s a slippery slope to spending more than you can afford.
2 Not Haggling
Too many consumers view the sticker price on a vehicle as an immovable object; a final sum that won’t be shifted no matter how much you try. In fact, both dealerships and private sellers respond well to a bit of haggling, and you shouldn’t be afraid to try a counter-offer. After all, Nothing ventured nothing gained!
The trick with haggling is to make an offer that doesn’t offend the seller. It has to be credible in order to be taken seriously.
Private sellers are more likely to reduce the cost of the vehicle in order to get a sale and while dealerships may not offer huge reductions, you may well find that you get some of those extras for free if the salesman sees you as someone to be taken seriously.
1 Buying At The Wrong Time Of Year
Amazingly, there are even right and wrong times of the year, and within each calendar month, to go out and buy a car from your local dealership. Buying at the wrong time of year can easily cost you a few hundred dollars more than if you decide to wait until the optimum purchase time.
Apparently, the best time of year to buy a car from a dealership is at the end of March, June, September or December, when salesmen and managers are eager to try and reach their quarterly sales targets and are much more likely to offer you a great deal just to make sure they get the sale added to their own figures. This is where your haggling can come in very handy!
Sources: www.autotrader.com, www.usatoday.com, autoexpert.com.au