There’s no denying the fact that buying a new car is an exciting experience. First-timers have an especially riveting time being thrown into the car dealer world and as they’re shown the vast array of possibilities and new convenience a car could bring to their lives. Regardless of whether you’re buying new or used, purchasing a car that is new to you comes with a lot of uncharted territory worth exploring before diving in. These 10 car buying mistakes are all too common for first-time buyers who let their excitement get the best of them.
10. Skipping the research
With the World Wide Web accessible on a device as handy as your smartphone, there’s no excuse for not doing some research before biting on a car. You will want to know if the used car you’re after has had a nasty recall history or if it’s one of the lower-rated vehicles in the safety department. Be sure to shop around too; maybe that new Audi for sale in Spokane will have a cheaper price tag in Hazelwood. The only way to ensure a smart purchase is to make sure you’ve read reviews, pros and cons, and compared models until you know exactly what you’re looking for with justification.
9. Buying new when used will do the trick too
You see commercials on TV about the latest car models and the amazing new features that come with these brand new vehicles. Unless your budget completely allows for a new car purchase, try to opt for the used car route instead and save thousands on a car that can do the same exact job as the newer model. Remember, you need to get from point A to point B, safely and efficiently. All other add-ons are (expensive) fluff, so you need to decide what features matter most to you.
8. Ignoring safety ratings
Accidents happen, no matter how safe a driver you are, or how hard you try to prevent them. In the event that an accident does happen, you want to have peace of mind knowing that your car will protect you from impact. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives you the full rundown on any car’s safety rating, recall, and complaint history. It’s always better safe than sorry.
7. Choosing looks over practicality
Luxury cars have a certain appeal that draws aesthetic-lovers in. Whether it’s the iconic shape of the Porsche 911 or the innovative interiors of the Tesla Model X, there’s plenty to love about the looks of a luxury car. However, when it comes to smart budgeting, an $80,000 car may not be the most practical for your bank account or lifestyle. Don’t put yourself into a hole of debt for a pretty, flashy car.
6. Not knowing how to walk away
Car dealers are notorious for pressuring customers into making purchases on the spot. By offering time-sensitive arrangements and exclusive deals, dealers put you on the spot, effectively pressuring you to make an on-the-spot decision about buying. Instead of giving into them, trust your instincts, recognize red flags, and know when to walk away.
5. Getting caught up in features
Do you really need a 17-inch LED display panel to get to work? Are rear-seat TVs really necessary? These added features are attractive bonuses to any car, but if you’re on a tight budget and need to keep a sense of realism, it’s in your best interest to ignore those alluring add-ons and stick to the basics that make your car cozy and comfortable.
4. Neglecting total cost calculation
Owning a Jeep is all fun and games until you factor in the cost of gas, repairs, and all other extra expenses tied to that flashy Wrangler model. First-time buyers should always check average cost of filling the tank, common repair costs, and general car maintenance expenses in order to properly survey the total price of buying and owning the car they’re after.
3. Buying without a mechanic check
If you’re buying from a third party seller, you’ll want to take more than just their word on the car’s condition. No matter how trustworthy the person may be and no matter how clean the vehicle history may be, you should take the car of interest to an independent mechanic for an unbiased rundown on the car’s health. This is a surefire way to make sure you’re not buying a lemon.
2. Skipping the test drive
Imagine this: you bought the car of your dreams from a local dealer for a price you still can’t believe. You’re driving it home and while en route, you find that the car makes a horrible rattling noise when you accelerate past 60 mph. Whether you drove it easy during your trial run or skipped it entirely, you’ll immediately regret not taking your new, noisy car for a thorough ride before putting money down.
1. Agreeing without reading
Reading a contract does take time, but admit it: you don’t usually take the time to carefully scan everything you’re agreeing to. When it comes to buying a car, you want to be sure you’re not signing your life away to a nasty 20-year payment plan or a number of added services that tack on hundreds to your final closing cost.
Don’t let yourself get caught up in the excitement of buying a new car. Keep practicality and budget in mind to keep your decisions grounded and your bank account safe from wreckage.