Buying a car is not a simple process, and it’s chock-full of pitfalls and other problems. But there are some common mistakes you can avoid, some of them before you even put a single foot onto the lot.
Going In Without Knowing How Much Car You Need
Before going to any lot, work out what kind of car you need. For example, if you’re primarily using your car for errands and taking the kids to school, you can safely rule out the two-seat sports car and the pick-up truck. Similarly, if you’re hauling a lot of heavy loads for work, you probably want a pickup instead of a sedan. Knowing what you need before you walk on the lot can help substantially.
Focusing Just On The Monthly Payment
We’re not going to pretend how much your car costs every month isn’t important. In fact, before you shop, sit down with your budget and figure out just how much of a monthly payment you can actually accommodate. It’ll help you rule out cars right off the bat when you’re on the lot.
That said, though, don’t let the monthly payment be your only decision. Remember, when buying a car with financing, you’re actually buying two products: The car itself, which you pay with the loan, and the financing, which you pay for through those interest payments. Sit down with any financing option and figure out how much you’re going to pay before you sign on the dotted line.
Giving In To Unethical Sales Tactics
If you feel uncomfortable at any dealership, for any reason, don’t hesitate. Thank them for their time, and leave. This could be for any number of reasons: High-pressure sales tactics, attempts to manipulate you that you easily spot, or just the fact that you don’t like the salesman. You’re going to be working with these people for, quite literally, years. If you’re not happy, for any reason, don’t go into business with them.
Forgetting A Car Costs More Than Its Sticker Price
Fitting a car into your monthly budget is great … but can you afford how much gas it’s going to burn? With any car, new or used, make a point of sitting down and figuring out just how much it’s going to cost you month to month. How much gas does it burn? How often does it need repairs? Will you be regularly paying tolls that you need to include into your monthly budget for the car? Doing this math before you buy can ensure you can afford the car you buy.
In most cases, buying new doesn’t really make sense for most buyers. Don’t get us wrong, it can be a great deal depending on the cost of the car and the financing you secure. But with a new car, you have to remember that it turns, pretty much the second you drive it off the lot, into a used car. That loss of value can make it impossible to recoup any real value out of it compared to what you pay. Always do the math before buying new.
In short, be a smart consumer: Think ahead, know what you need, and above all, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.