When you make the decision to buy a car – whether it be new or used – you’re taking a huge financial step that will most likely affect your bank statements for a good while. It is definitely not a decision to go into lightly, unless you happen to have a windfall of cash and can buy straight off the lot. Even in that case, you want to ensure you’re making the best choices and not making easily avoidable mistakes. Many prospective car buyers get caught up in the process and overlook essentials as they sign on the dotted line and set up monthly payments.
Once you decided to buy a car, take the time to check out the ways you can avoid the common mistakes people make before buying, so you can ensure you don’t fall into these traps.
- Call your auto insurance provider as you’re getting started. It’s easy to overlook the fact that your auto insurance premium can go up based on the kind of car you choose to buy. If you have a make and model in mind, give your insurance agent a call to find out if there might be any additional costs incurred based on your ideal car, or if you’ll need to purchase gap insurance. You can also check certain things such as costs of maintenance and tires, which can help you budget in the long run.
- Don’t limit yourself to one dealership. It’s never a good idea to limit your car shopping experience to one place, as you could run into different deals and salespeople more willing to work with your budget at other dealerships. Many auto experts suggest visiting at least three dealerships before finalizing a decision on a car.
- Check out the online departments for car dealerships. Instead of simply waiting to negotiate a price for a car at a dealership, send an email detailing what you’re looking for, your price range and what you’re willing to pay for what you’re interested in. This can free up time as you continue to shop around.
- Take full advantage of your test drive. Your test drive is the time for you to really lean into your prospective new car, to see what features you like (and need) and what features you don’t like (or could do without). While it may feel awkward testing something like a car that is meant to accommodate your lifestyle with a salesperson sitting in the back, it’s essential to take the time to see if it’s a right fit. Before you get behind the wheel, make a checklist of what you want in a car so you can save time on the test drive.