Purchasing a car is both a logical and emotional experience. It relies on logic because you need to make a decision based on certain facts and necessities. It is an emotional experience because you rely on your gut or emotions when you see a car that you like. However, we should not let our emotions get in the way and make sure that we get the best value for our money. The cost should be proportional to the car’s reliability. However, that doesn’t prevent you from getting a car that fits your lifestyle and your personality.
Choosing a car is a difficult decision to make. Once we buy it, there is no turning back, and there are still a lot of things to consider after the purchase such as maintenance, cleaning the car, gas expenses, and insurance.
In this article, we will discuss tips on how to avoid car-buying mistakes that cost you money. It’s all a matter of doing your homework and not making hasty decisions.
Mistake # 1: Not Researching or Doing Your Homework
Before setting out to buy a car, list down what make and model you want. List down the specifications that you want in a car. For example, you want a car with a large trunk, has an automatic transmission and fits a family of six. Think of this as your grocery list.
As soon as you have listed down what to look for research prices from different dealers and compare. This helps you bring down your choices so that you can visit each dealer and inspect the cars. When you have an idea about what you want, it will be easier to thwart suggestions from salespersons who offer you upgrades that you don’t really need.
Mistake # 2: Focusing on the monthly price
When your dealer asks you, “How much is your monthly budget?” don’t take the bait. Low monthly payments would mean a higher down payment. Instead, ask for the total price of the car. After you have negotiated the price, then it’s time to discuss the financing or leasing options. Salespersons will tell you that they can give you a discount so it can meet your monthly budget.
Don’t be blinded by the discounts. Chances are, the “discount” that you get will be added on top of the down payment.
Mistake # 3: Not Thinking of Financing
Before you visit the dealer, search for financial institutions that will help you finance your car purchase. Most car dealers offer their own financing scheme but don’t be fooled by the lower interest rates or freebies. Chances are, their rates are even higher than banks or credit unions. Arm yourself with information before you make the deal.
Think of the total cost of the vehicle when you look for financing. You still have other expenses to worry about after you purchase the car.
Mistake # 4: Not Researching on Insurance
Insurance is another factor in buying a car. Like financing, dealers also offer car insurance. The car insurance that they offer will be more expensive than those in the market because car salespersons earn a commission from them. So, take out the commission and that’s how much you should pay. Of course, they won’t tell you that. Make sure you already have an insurance policy before purchasing a car. This also helps you limit your budget.
Mistake # 5: Buying Unnecessary Accessories
It is very easy to fall in love with that awesome sound system. Yet, do you really need a subwoofer? Instead, focus on extras that are practical such as safety features. Some of the useful accessories you may want to look at are Anti-Theft System and GPS.
Most car dealers will upsell extras such as floor mats, seat covers, or even mobile phone holders. These items may be necessary but is the upgrade to another unit worth it?
Mistake # 6: Skipping the Test Drive
When you have chosen a car that you like, make sure to do a test drive. Once you purchase the car, you cannot return it just because your legs don’t reach the pedals or that you get a backache because of the uncomfortable seats. Test drive the car so you can get a feel of how to drive it. Test the air conditioner, sound system, power windows, and even the locks. If there’s something that you don’t like, then don’t settle for it. Remember, this car could be yours for a lifetime. You don’t want to use something that you’re not happy with, right?
Mistake # 7: Impulse Buying
Never buy a car just because you love the color and it’s a “special edition.” Never buy a car because the mag wheels look unique. These are accessories that are unnecessary and do not speak of the car’s reliability. Choose a car that is suited for your needs such as long driving, driving through rough roads and rough terrain, or making sure your family comfortably fits. Choose a car based on reliability, safety, and is cost effective.
In addition to that, when you are presented with the agreement, read thoroughly. Usually, when dealers see that you are 99% sure of buying the car, they may make last-minute changes to the agreement because you are ready to sign. Avoid giving in to that impulse. Carefully review the agreement and call out any discrepancies instead of giving in to your desire.
A final note
Purchasing a car needs careful thought and consideration. It is like preparing a grocery list before venturing into the supermarket to make sure that you get everything that you need. You don’t want to end up buying a car that cannot handle your daily off-road trips, do you?
Making sure that you get the best value for your car is important. Paying for the actual car is not the final step. You still need to worry about insurance, fuel expenses, taking it to the car wash or purchasing materials to clean your car, and car maintenance.
Do you have other tips and suggestions that you’d like to share? Don’t hesitate to reach out and give feedback as we’d love to hear from you!
David Walker has 11 years of experience as an auto mechanic; everything he shares is based on his extensive knowledge. Check his blog to know more.
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