As you know, a car is a pretty big investment. No one wants to drop a few grands on a bad investment, least of all me. I remember my first car. My parents got it for me when I passed my driving exam. It was a Renault car, small but it took me places and I was happy with it.
Back then, I had no idea how to take care of a car and I had to learn it all on my own. Then came the day I wanted to buy a new car and I was living too far from my parents to ask for their help in choosing one, so I had to do it by myself.
And that’s when I learned that buying a car was not just about exchanging money and papers. I had to learn how to recognize wear and tear on a car and decide if it was worth the money the seller was asking for.
If you’re looking to buy a car soon, keep on reading to find out which mistakes to avoid when looking for your next vehicle.
1. Not looking up the car’s value
All right, so you’ve found the car you want and it’s perfect in every way. Hell, even the price is good enough, and you don’t hesitate to buy it. Big mistake! When searching for the car you want, don’t just check out the closest car sale near you and go with that one.
You need to shop around, look for prices in other places and on the internet as well. Research the price for the model you want not only for secondhand cars but also for new ones and trade-in vehicles.
Doing this will help you get a good idea of what the price is and will give you room to negotiate if you want to.
2. Not buying a car for your needs
Not assessing your needs might be one of the biggest mistakes you could make when shopping for a new car. Don’t go on a vehicle hunt until you completely understand what you really want.
Do you need a family car or just a two-seater? Do you prefer a hybrid or a truck? Will you be using the car for long commutes and thus need adequate fuel mileage? Ask yourself all these questions before choosing a car. Once you know what type of vehicle you need, you can go for it.
3. Not going for a test drive
When purchasing a new car, you’ll want to test drive it. Why? Because this can give you an idea of the feel of the vehicle. Even if the car you’re buying is brand new, it might not offer a nice smooth ride.
A test drive will also help you see if you’re physically comfortable inside the car, especially if you’re a short or very tall person. And let’s not forget the ergonomic side of it. You’ll want to choose a car with a good dashboard flow for you, for example, and the only way to assess that is to go for a test drive.
4. Paying for options you don’t really need
Sure, we all would love to have a sunroof in our car, but it’s not always ideal, especially if you live somewhere polluted or very rainy. Ask yourself if you really need it before paying more for an add-in cigarette burner and ashtray or deluxe leather seats.
The car seller will want you to buy as many options as possible, but you can stop yourself from being convinced by making a list of essentials and non-essentials before going on your vehicle hunt.
5. Not researching enough
This is especially important if you have a family and you want them to be as safe as possible inside your car. Don’t let the excitement of buying a new vehicle make you disregard researching what the best options are for you. There are several websites on the internet that offer ratings of cars depending on safety features, car mileage, environment friendliness, and more.
Don’t be too lazy when it comes to research, because once you buy a car, you’re probably going to be stuck with it for a few years (we don’t all have the luxury to change cars like we change toothbrushes).
6. Ignoring your budget
Or going as far as not having one. Like I’ve already stated, buying a car is a big investment, especially if you’re getting a loan to purchase it. Make a budget and see how much money you can realistically spend on car payments monthly and stick with it.
If you can only afford to pay 400$ in car payments a month, stick with that, even if you don’t find a loan that works with that budget as quickly as you can. It’s better to delay a purchase than to put yourself in a mountain of debt you can’t pay or afford.
7. Not negotiating
I’d say this is the worst mistake you can make, especially if you’re buying a used car. You can and should negotiate because you never know when someone would be willing to sell something for lower than the asking price. As they say, you’ll never know until you try.
So, once you find the perfect car, make sure to see if you can lower the price. It doesn’t hurt to try. And if it doesn’t work, remember that you can walk away. There will always be other cars that fit your budget better.
Purchasing a car can be a stressful process, from researching what type of vehicle works for you to apply for a loan. However, by avoiding the mistakes above, you’ll be sure to choose the perfect vehicle for you and your situation.