Buying a new car can be one of the most exciting purchases you can make, but also one of the most expensive. Even a modest car is going to run you up to $30,000 or more, and luxury models can easily cost two and three times that much. Deciding which car is right for you from the hundreds of models on the market is a daunting task at first, but a little research will make your shopping experience much more smoother.
If you have never bought a new car before, you might be a little worried about making a mistake along the way. The key is to take your time and make sure that it’s something you can afford without adding any undue financial stress. With that in mind, below are four common mistakes that you will want to make sure you avoid before deciding to buy a new car.
#1 – Thinking Short Term
Most likely, you are going to want to own your new car for many years to come. With that in mind, think about your car purchase with the long term in mind rather than just your immediate needs. For example, if you are planning to have kids in the next couple of years, you will want to purchase a vehicle that has room for them when they come along.
Also, if you are considering taking a job that will have you making a longer commute than you have now, good gas mileage will be something to look for. This is also not to mention the fact you’ll want to make sure your car purchase is budget friendly.
#2 – Going In without a Plan
There is no doubt that a car dealership can be an intimidating place for a first time buyer. Everyone has heard stories of pushy sales people talking buyers into all sorts of options and features that they really don’t need. While those horror stories are usually exaggerated, they are based in some amount of truth.
To avoid that happening to you, the best strategy is to go in with a plan for exactly what you are looking for and stick with it. It isn’t enough to know what model you are interested in, but also which trim package and additional options you would like. Be as detailed as you can, so the salesperson won’t be able to upsell you on costs you don’t need. I’ve personally used both Edmunds.com and TrueCar.com as they both provide quality and unbiased information on a wide variety of different cars.
#3 – Being in a Rush
Heading to the dealership with your mind made up that you are absolutely going to purchase a car that day is a recipe for paying too much. Try to be as flexible as you can, and don’t be afraid to walk away if you aren’t happy with the deal that they are offering you. In fact, I make it a practice to regularly walk away in the beginning so as to communicate I’m in no rush. It might seem rude, and you don’t want to be rude about it, but the salespeople are used to it.
Remember, it is your money, and another dealership will be happy to sell you a car if the one you start with doesn’t want to play fair. Another reason why you don’t want to be in a rush is that you want to make sure you cover all your bases with what having the given car will cost you. If you’re interested in saving money on car insurance for example, then you’ll want to take the time to see what cars you’re interested in will cost you each month.
#4 – Skipping the Test Drive
This should be obvious even for new car buyers, but it is worth mentioning anyway. You don’t want to buy any car that you haven’t taken on at least one test drive, if not more. Even if a car gets great reviews from magazines and other owners, that doesn’t mean you will love driving it as much as they do. Get behind the wheel and see for yourself before you commit to the purchase.
If you’re looking at buying a used car then I even recommend taking it to your mechanic to have them check it out for anything major. They might charge you a small fee to do so, but it can be well worth the cost if it means you avoiding a mistake.
What do you like least about buying a new or new to you car? Have you been guilty of any of these mistakes in the past? Have you ever bought a car in all cash?
Photo courtesy of: NRMA Motoring