Sitting behind your own set of wheels for the first time is one great experience in life. But the process of buying a car can be overwhelming since everyone makes mistakes and car buyers are no exception. Nevertheless, if you are knowledgeable and well prepared, then you can walk into that dealership confident and in charge of the process. Here are 12 mistakes to avoid;
1. Failing to do a thorough research
So many websites offer free information about car features, models, owner ratings, prices, reviews and car suggestions. Find out about the reliability, comfortability and safety features of the car. There are cases of bad dealers trying to sell off damaged or vandalized cars as brand new, or cars damaged during shipping. You can get the VIN and confirm the car’s history before taking the deal.
2. Buying a car with aftermarket add-ons
Add-ons are features like alarm systems, undercoating, window tinting, stereo system, leather seats, pin striping and chrome wheels that a dealer adds to the car to improve profits. Dealers often overprice these feature as a way to boost the overall sale price of the car. These add-ons rarely add long-term value to the car. It is advisable to ask the dealer what add-ons are on the car and whether you need them there so as to avoid extra costs.
3. Failing to take a thorough test-drive
It is normal to be a bit nervous when driving a car that is not yours. This leads to people failing to do a thorough test-drive. The dealer might sometimes instruct you on where to go and give you a time limit. This will deny you a comprehensive test; you won’t get a sense of how the car handles different conditions. Think about how you will use the car on a daily basis, test parking under various conditions, and check out the visibility when backing up. Ensure you check all your must have features during a test drive.
4. Buying from a dealer you don’t trust
If you notice the sales person is too pushy or seems not to know much about cars, walk away. The dealer should be able to demonstrate the features of the car and point a buyer to the right car. Find a dealer who listens and answers your questions well.
5. Focusing on the monthly payments
Talking about the total price of the car makes you have a precise figure of how you can distribute your monthly payments. It is a mistake to tell the dealer what you are able to pay monthly before negotiating, he might suggest a longer loan so that it fits in your budget. A longer loan means paying more interest, in the end, you overpay for the car.
6. Buying a car in a rush
Car dealers like buyers who are in a hurry, they know the customer is much less likely walking away without the car. Dealers will thus have leverage on the negotiation process. Take your time to research and don’t rush the purchasing process.
7. Failing to consult with your insurance agent
Failing to find out information about how you will be paying insurance, more or less, for the new car is a mistake. Many buyers let car dealers handle everything, which impacts on them negatively in future. Finding out the car history can benefit the buyer, for instance, if buying a used car, the dealer should pay for the insurance.
8. Failing to stick to your budget
Car dealers can be so convincing that they talk you into buying a car you had not budgeted for. Avoid such a mistake, make sure you buy a car that you can afford and won’t put your monthly budget in a fix.
9. Trading in your old car
If you have plans of trading in your new car, look up its value on your own with other dealers first. It is a mistake bringing the car to the dealer without being sure of the cost as the dealer will try and profit on your convenience. Find out the price of your old car first, know the cost of the new car you are buying then do your Math before getting to the negotiation table.
10. Buying new instead of used
Cars depreciate very fast the moment they are driven away from the dealer. The same car model a year older can cost much less than its equivalent newest model with same warranties.
11. Shopping at just one car dealership
Being a first-time car buyer, shop around to find a great deal. Check out at least three dealerships, you can use the internet to check up dealer’s websites. Let the dealers whom you are inquiring from know you are still searching around so they can get you a better deal.
12. Financing with the dealership
It is smarter to look into financing with local banks or credit unions as dealers offer auto loans rates that are higher.