1. Buying brand new
One of the key mistakes people make when it comes to buying a new car is that they actually shell out for something that is brand new. This is not cost-effective, and new vehicles depreciate considerably the second they are bought. The smarter choice is going for a pre-owned model.
2. Not test driving
When you are going to buy a car, one of the most important parts of the process is the test drive, but this is too often overlooked. Buying a car without taking it for a test drive is like buying a house without looking inside it; in other words, a very bad idea.
3. Falling in love with a particular car
You need to try to master your emotions to buying a new car, and this is because falling in love with a specific vehicle is a recipe for disaster. This can color your decision-making, causing you to buy a car that you probably shouldn’t be buying, whilst overlooking better options.
4. Not being flexible
You have to make sure you are flexible with your options, and that you leave yourself with enough choice. Don’t close off potential vehicles that might be great for you because of restrictions you’re placing on the car-buying process. Be open-minded about the sorts of cars you might consider.
5. Going over budget
Setting a budget in advance is actually pretty important, as it helps you to be realistic from the outset. The mistake that all too many people make is going over budget. This could see you ending up with a car you won’t be able to afford in the long run.
6. Focusing too much on a bargain
If you are too focused on trying to find a bargain, you might not be focused enough on actually picking the right car. Yes, it is true that saving money and getting a new car for cheap is great, but this shouldn’t come at the expense of getting the car that is right for you.
7. Not choosing the best value vehicle
Being able to choose the vehicle that represents the best value for you is so important, and this is something too many people overlook. It is vital to make sure you think about the car that provides the best value for what you need, and this includes accounting for fuel costs.
8. Forgetting to negotiate
Another common mistake people make when buying a new car is that they forget to negotiate, and instead just take the price they are quoted. In reality, the vehicle price has likely been marked up by the dealership, so there is probably some wiggle room and you should try to negotiate where possible.
9. Not thinking in advance about financing
It is important to make sure you think in advance about your financing approach, and that you don’t leave this until the last minute. Waiting until you get to the dealership to think about financing could result in you being manipulated into paying more, and this is something you certainly want to avoid.
10. Buying an impractical car
Buying an impractical car is a common mistake and one that happens more than you might realize. This is something that you need to get right as much as possible, and focusing on the practicality of what the car can offer is something that will help to improve your life in a lot of different ways.
11. Overlooking the importance of modern safety features
Modern safety features are far better and more reliable than older safety features, and this is something that you need keep in mind when making your choice. Safety is one of the biggest and most important factors you should account for when choosing a car, so modern might be the way to go.
12. Getting a “fixer-upper”
It might seem tempting to buy an older car as a “fixer-upper” so that you have a project to work on, but this can often be more trouble than it’s worth. Cars like this can often be a money pit and you might end up paying more than you bargained for in the long run if you choose a car like this.
13. Wasting money on unnecessary extras
There is a lot that you need to think about when buying a vehicle, and one of the traps it’s easy to fall into is wasting money on unnecessary extras. Upselling is common practice in showrooms, and you need to try to avoid being sucked in and stick to your plan.
14. Taking too much of a hit on your existing car
If you have a car already, you might be looking to sell it and replace it with the new vehicle. This is another potential pitfall to be wary of when car-buying. It’s worth making sure you’re getting the right price when you sell it, so good research is paramount.
15. Not getting a used car checked over by an independent mechanic
If you are buying a used car (which we would recommend) one of the things that you need to try to do is get the car checked by an independent mechanic. You want a second opinion from a professional who knows what they are doing, as this can help you to make the right choice.
16. Letting your emotions make your decision
Having emotional reactions to cars when you are shopping is perfectly understandable, but it’s important to make sure you don’t make decision based on emotions alone. A car is a long-term purchase and your feelings might well change over time, so it’s important to think with your head and not your heart.
17. Choosing a dealership because it’s close
Another common error we tend to make when buying a new car is simply choosing the closest dealership to us geographically. This does seem to make sense on surface level, for convenience, but it is not the correct way to do things. You should be picking the dealership that has the cars you’re interested in.
18. Not accounting for maintenance costs
One important thing to keep in mind is that car costs don’t just come in the initial purchase phase. There are a wealth of maintenance costs that come with owning and running a car, and you need to account for these if you want to make a smart purchase.
19. Rushing your research
Before you commit to buying a car, you should be researching it as much as possible, and this is going to help you to ensure you are making the right choice. But a big mistake many of us make with this is that we tend to rush the research part of the process, so we miss out on vital information.
20. Not examining the car
Another thing that all too many car-buyers neglect to do is actually getting inside the car and having a good look. There are many red flags that might affect your final decision that can only be found by examining the car up close, so it’s a stage of the process you don’t want to skip.
21. Ignoring the issue of resale value
Resale value is something that you need to keep in mind when you are planning to buy your new car. If you want to sell it in the future, how much are you realistically going to get for it? Some cars hold their value better than others, and this is worth keeping in mind.
22. Not shopping around
One of the most common mistakes we make when buying a new car is not shopping around. We see something we like and we buy it right away, when actually it should be the reverse. Shopping around and making the right decisions after getting a few options to work with is the best approach to take.
23. Succumbing to what’s called “Feature Creep”
Simply put, “Feature Creep” is when added optional extras are suddenly viewed as necessities the longer you take to buy the car. Instead, in order to avoid succumbing to this, you need to make sure you write a list of essential features in advance, and don’t make any additions, unless they’re within budget.
24. Being too indecisive
Being too indecisive is another problem, as this can cause the process to go on for a long period of time, and is not conducive to making the right choices. Instead, you need to have an idea in mind of what you want before you start, be prepared to make compromises, and be as decisive as possible.
25. Rushing to buy
Conversely, you also want to avoid rushing in and making an impulsive decision. Buying a car is a bit like buying a house, and it is important that you make the correct choice when you’re doing this. Taking a little extra time to think things through is rarely a bad idea.
26. Trading in your old car
Trading in your old car might seem like no issue at all, but this is often not the best approach to take. Instead, you need to be thinking about the financial implications of this, and the fact you’re likely to lose value by trading it in. If you look to sell your old car privately, you will make more money that way.
27. Leasing instead of buying
Another of the mistakes people tend to make when they are purchasing cars is that they tend to lease instead of buying. The problem with leasing is that you don’t actually own the car afterward, and lease prices could continue to grow year on year, which makes this a poor option.
28. Being rude to the salesperson
There is no cause to be rude to people, and this is only going to get you off on the wrong foot. Don’t forget that salespeople are only doing their jobs, and even if you feel like they are being pushy or pressuring you to buy, make sure you aren’t rude to them. Being firm without being rude is the best approach to take.
29. Getting caught up with brand name
Something else you need to try to avoid is getting caught up with the brand name of the car you’re looking at. Yes, there are certain brands and models that are better than others, but you need to be buying for the benefits the vehicle provides, not because of what it says on the badge.
30. Letting yourself get pressured
Pressure selling is common in a lot of industries, and it’s something we’d all rather do without. However, when it comes to buying your car, it’s more important than ever not to let yourself be pressured into buying something you don’t actually really want to buy.
31. Not walking away when it doesn’t feel right
Listening to your gut is often the best thing you can do, and there are a lot of factors that you need to think about when making this decision. If your gut is telling you to walk away, then you need to listen, as it likely means there are underlying issues that are dissuading you from buying.
32. Ignoring hidden costs
There are always going to be hidden costs when it comes to buying a car, and knowing what these are is essential. Ignoring hidden costs can potentially result in you getting swamped in extra payments you didn’t expect, so making sure you know what the final figure would be before putting your signature on a contract is key.
33. Not planning for insurance
Insurance is a legal requirement, and something that you need to make sure you account for. As a car owner, it is important to be able to plan effectively for the right insurance, and make sure you are securing an insurance plan that caters to your vehicle and your particular needs.
34. Ignoring good deals
There are tons of great deals on cars out there, but the excitement of the buying process can sometimes result in us overlooking this. Also, many people feel they have to pay top dollar to get the best possible car, when actually, there are plenty of great deals to be had.
35. Skipping vehicle history checks
A mistake you absolutely need to avoid when it comes to buying a car is skipping the vehicle history checks. You need to investigate your car’s history to make sure it doesn’t become an issue – ensure it wasn’t in any major accidents and has a relatively clean record under previous ownership.
36. Falling for claims of limited time offers
A lot of salerooms like to use the gimmick of limited-time offers in order to trick buyers into rushing into purchases. The truth is, many of these “deals” are not actually time-limited at all and there’s no need to rush. Instead, take your time and make an informed decision.
37. Placing too much importance on aesthetics
The aesthetics of a car matter but they are far from the biggest concern you should have. Things like safety, reliability, roadworthiness, and performance all matter far more than the way a vehicle looks. Make sure you have your priorities straight from the beginning to avoid falling for this trap.
38. Going alone to choose the car
Another key mistake many of us make when it comes to buying a new car is that we go alone to make our decision. It would be far better to have someone knowledgeable alongside you, who knows a bit more than you, who can give you a second opinion, and who might think of questions you overlook.
39. Not getting promises in writing
You might strike a deal with your dealership, and they might make you some promises in order to help secure the sale. In this instance, you must make sure you get the promises in writing. Verbal promises are not worth anything and can be reneged upon, so be sure you get written confirmation.
40. Not factoring in your needs
It is vital to make sure you factor in your needs as a driver, and use this to help you make the right choice. For instance, if you require a car for your commute, you need to choose one that excels in helping with this particular area. Overlooking your needs will tend to result in you getting the wrong car for you.