8 Common Car Shopping Errors and How to Avoid Them

Shopping for a new car can be like shopping for a pair of shoes. You need to know what you want before you set foot in the store. The same goes for a car. Sure, you can go around various dealerships and see what you like. But, to truly make the correct decision, a bit of homework should be done. 

Finding the right car for your needs requires knowing what not to buy. Below are common car shopping errors and how to best avoid them.

1) Common Car Shopping Errors: Not Test Driving the Vehicle

You might be in for a surprise if you base your car purchase just on appearance and specifications. Get behind the wheel even if you’ve only ever ridden one car. Additionally, don’t merely follow the salesperson’s path throughout the test drive. Drive through local roads and highways. Stop-and-go traffic, parking garages, supermarket parking lots, and any other conditions you frequently encounter.

You might know what you want and want a smaller or bigger car, a car with more or less power. A car might be lined up already, but you truly won’t know if you like it if you don’t get in the driver’s seat.

If you are looking for comprehensive reviews on a variety of models, check out Auto Media for more.

2) Underestimating Safety

When buying a new car, look out for a few basic standard safety features that should be available on every new car. A safe car is paramount on today’s roads. Even if you are a safe driver, other people are still driving on the road and could cause an accident. 

A few features you must look for is ABS braking, electronic stability control, airbag system, and take into consideration the NCAP safety rating of the vehicle, as this will give you a good idea of how safe the vehicle is. 

3) Purchasing Unwanted Extras

The price of the vehicle would go up significantly if every single extra were to be ordered for the car. Remember that most of the time, the price of the vehicle is advertised as a base model, so when you head to the dealership, you will always land up spending more. 

Of course, the more luxuries and the more extras, the more you can expect to pay. There is certain stuff that a vehicle does need, like air conditioning, USB cable installed, and things such as mag wheels, go without saying. 

Things you should avoid being pushed to purchase are an extra warranty, fancy seats, and unnecessary trims and items.

4) Know the Value of Your Trade-in

You can take your time to try to sell your car on your own if you’re not in a rush to get a new car. Since selling a vehicle on one’s own entails risks, planning, and effort, the majority of people choose to accept the trade-in value instead.

Be aware of your car’s worth. Be mindful that unless anything is new or has been flawlessly garaged and maintained for a few years, it is not necessarily in great shape. You can anticipate fair or value on the market, but when you try to trade it, they’ll try to lowball you.

The great thing is you don’t have to accept the first offer. Try different dealerships and see which one offers you the best trade-in price. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much money you can potentially save. If you can’t sell it privately, don’t be in a rush to get rid of the vehicle. Take your time. A decision doesn’t need to be made overnight.

5) Checking a Used Vehicle

Again, this is a topic that could have an entire post devoted to it, but in short, unless you’re a skilled mechanic, you should have the car you’re considering buying inspected by a specialist. The majority of people lack the training necessary to recognize accident repairs, water damage, electrical concerns, or powertrain problems. Most people will merely listen to see if the sound is appropriate and if the cosmetics are attractive.

But don’t expect to get things done for free. You should anticipate paying a mechanic around $100 or more to inspect it, so this should be in the final stages of negotiating.  Even if they do discover something, it might not be a deal-breaker because you will be aware of the issue at the time of purchase and how soon you need to rectify it.

6) Loving Only One Model

We’re referring to the tendency to get so devoted to one product that you develop prejudice in favor of it or against all other models. It’s good to purchase the car of your dreams, but make sure that reality matches your expectations. They frequently don’t line up.

Make sure you check several brands and their offerings. Quite often, you will land up with a bucket load of extras for the same price as a base model of your favorite brand. You don’t necessarily have to be loyal to one brand so be sure to shop around and consider your options. 

7) Focusing On Only Monthly Payments

When customers ask for an opinion on purchasing a car, they should also discuss payments. 

There are different strategies that can be used, like extending the loan term or requesting a lower interest rate through different companies. Ultimately, start with the car you need, and then if money permits, purchase the car you want.

8) Negotiating Price

Let’s elaborate on this. It’s not bargaining at all or not negotiating enough.

You should try to avoid purchasing a vehicle at retail price. The car isn’t worth having if the dealer won’t take money off it, and no other dealer will either. 

If it’s a new brand that is launched, wait until the nostalgia passes, then negotiate the price with the seller.

Take Your Time When Buying

Still now, the best piece of advice is to take your time when buying a vehicle. The wrong choice can set you back financially for a few years, so best you make them wisely, and take into account these common car shopping errors.

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