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9 Car Buying Mistakes To Avoid

Buying a car, new or used, is a major financial expense. It’s a long-term investment that not only needs to make sense for your lifestyle, but also for your current financial situation. Consumers make many used car buying mistakes, which can end up costing big bucks. You need a car that is going to be reliable to get you to work, school, the grocery store, or wherever you need to go. Buying a used car makes sense for many consumers, and since a car is such a big investment, you want to make sure to avoid these nine common mistakes many consumers make when purchasing a used car.

Nine Used Car Buying Mistakes To Avoid

  • Not getting pre-approved.

    1. It’s always a good idea to get pre-approved before you go to the dealership. This way you know how much you can afford before you shop. In addition, you can avoid paying a premium for dealership financing. Getting pre-approved provides you with additional negotiating power with dealers, so you don’t overpay for the vehicle you want.
  •  Skip Research.
    1. Another major mistake many consumers make is skipping the research process. The Internet is a great resource to start with. There is an abundance of facts and figures right at your fingertips about vehicles’ features, prices, safety ratings, fuel economy, etc. Make sure to compare various car models to ensure that you used car buying mistakesget a car that suits your needs, while also be economical and safe. JD Power, Kelly Blue Book, and Consumer Reports are great sources to start with.
  •  Not Getting An Appraisal.
    1. If you plan to trade-in your old car, make sure to check its value. Be sure to print out what you find and take that information with you to the dealership. If the dealership is unable to give you what you want for your car, you can always try to sell it on your own, and use that money towards your new car. Some great resources to estimate the value of your current car include Edmunds, Kelly Blue Book, and NADA.
  •  Not Checking The Car’s History.
    1. All used cars have a history that you should check into. Some dealerships will provide you with maintenance reports, but one of the best ways to check a vehicle’s complete history is to order a vehicle history report. This type of report will provide you with information on past ownership including how many owners the vehicle has had, and odometer readings; liens on the vehicle; title and accident history; faulty odometer settings and roll back alerts; “lemon” status. You can utilize the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) VINCheck for free. All you need is the vehicle’s vin number. If you want a more detailed report it will cost you around $40.
  •  Skip Or Skimp On The Test Drive.
    How will you know if you truly like a vehicle before you drive it? For instance, you may not like the way it accelerates on the highway if you don’t test it there. If you skip the test drive all together, you may end up buying a car that has uncomfortable seats, or even worse horrible blind spots. Make sure to always test drive any car you think about purchasing. Take it on residential roads as well as highways to ensure that you like how the car operates under a variety of circumstances.
    1. Buying Based On Appearance.
    2. A Car may look beautiful on the outside, but that doesn’t mean it’s equally as beautiful on the inside. Try to avoid buying a car solely based upon looks. You may end up paying in the end as a result of hefty repair bills. In addition, you may end up buying a car that is not practical for your current situation. Always make sure a car is as “pretty” on the inside as it is on the outside.
    1. Buying An Impractical Car.
      This leads us to another top mistake consumers make when buying a used car; buying a car that is impractical for their current situation. For instance, if you have children, or plan to have a family in the near future, it would not make much sense to buy a tiny sports car. In addition, if you do a lot of traveling for work, it would not make much sense to buy a gas guzzler. A car should fit your lifestyle. Cars are supposed to make your life more convenient. There’s nothing worse than buying a car that inconveniences your life.
  • Rushing A Decision/Pressure Buying
    Many times you may feel pressured into buying a car for the fear of missing out on a sale, or the fear of someone else buying it. However, as you know, a car is a huge financial investment. CNBC estimates that the average consumer holds onto a vehicle 11.5 years. More than likely your new car will last you a decade, so make sure not to rush into a decision that you will affect you for the next 10+ years.
    1. Too Many Unnecessary Features.
      Make a list of features that are necessary before you go to the dealership, and stick to that list. it’s very tempting to stray away from your original wish list, and opt for a vehicle with the latest surround sound, navigation system, leather seats, etc. Keep in mind that the majority of these features are not necessities, and some of them you will never even use, so what’s the point in having them?

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