If you're in the market for a new ride, the buying process can often be intimidating; and if you're intimidated, how can you be confident about your choice? When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, but if your new car turns out to be a lemon, you didn't get the best value for your money. Being aware of common car-buying mistakes can help you avoid making the wrong purchasing decision, so check out this list of how to lessen your chance of making them.
Common mistake 1: Not being prepared
Sure, the process is exciting, but the most important thing a new car buyer can do is be prepared. First, begin with the research and end with seeing, touching and feeling. Yet, preparation doesn't only apply to the car, it's also important to financing and auto insurance decisions.
Consulting with your bank to get pre-qualified for a loan before heading to an auto dealer will help you understand what your rice range is and what you can afford on a monthly basis. Find out what the financing options are with your dealer and if your bank offers a better one, ask if the dealership with match it.
But preparation doesn’t just apply to the car; it’s also important for financing. Lyman suggests visiting your bank before going to the dealer to get per-qualified for a loan and understand what you can afford. In addition, says Lyman, find out what financing options the dealers offer. If your bank has a better deal, present it to the dealer to see if they can work with you to match it.
Common mistake 2: Not taking a proper test drive
You may think that getting behind the wheel for a quick jaunt and listening for any unusual sounds from the engine or break is good enough, but think again. It's recommended that potential buyers should take at least 30 minutes with each test drive, and also ensure they take the car on the freeway to see how it handles road and wind noises.
Since you will be spending a lot of time behind the wheel, also make sure that you test every feature you would normally use on a day-to-day basis.
Common mistake 3: Not thinking long term
Consumer Reports notes a vehicle’s safety, pricing, reliability, ratings should all factor into your decision making process. Consider each of these with the next five years in mind. Are you starting a family and need a vehicle big enough for several riders? Are you becoming an empty nester and looking for something smaller and more fun? Consider taking a broader view on how long you plan to own the vehicle and what your usage needs look like over that time. Remember, the type of car you purchase will also affect your auto insurance rates.