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Common Car Buying Mistakes – 5 Things to Avoid

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Buying a new car is very exciting, but it’s also a big financial investment. The entire process leaves little room for mistakes. Being prepared from the get-go can help you make informed decisions and avoid making any regrettable decisions. Here are some of the most common car buying mistakes to avoid when you’re shopping for your next new ride.

Common Car Buying Mistakes - 5 Things to Avoid

5 Common Car Buying Mistakes

Mistake 1: Not Doing Your Research

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to picking out a car. Everything from your budget to the cost of maintenance should be thoroughly researched. Not doing so could leave you open to everything from paying too much to not getting the features you really want.

Begin by making a list of what you need and want in a new car, then work on narrowing it down to a few vehicles of choice. Sites such as Consumer Reports offer a variety of vehicle comparison lists, like Top Picks, Best New Cars under $30,000, Best/Worst Fuel Economy, etc., that can help make your choice easier.

Next do your research on those particular makes and models. Look into reviews from real owners as well as reviews from sites like Edmunds,, and Auto Trader. Be sure to consider – and compare – things such as cost, vehicle safety ratings, fuel mileage, comfort and maintenance costs.

Narrowing down your list and knowing what you want will help you focus when you actually begin shopping. It will also help you avoid getting ‘pushed’ into a vehicle you really don’t want.

Mistake 2: Not Shopping Around

Once you have a better idea of the make and model you want, shop around at different dealerships. Don’t make the mistake of going to just one dealership. Not only will different dealerships offer different prices, they may also have different colors and trim levels from which to choose. Plus many dealerships, such as Kindle Auto Plaza, also offer special sale prices and incentives which can help you get an even better deal.

It also pays to research the individual dealerships as well. Look for online customer reviews and ask around. Find out why buyers chose the particular dealership they did. What makes one stand out above the other?

Mistake 3: Not Taking The Test Drive

When you are ready to look at cars in person, it’s important that you take a test drive. Passing on that can be a car buying mistake, as there can be big differences in the handling of various models. Knowing what to look for on a test drive is also important, as is taking mental notes about the quality of the drive:

  • how is visibility from the front and rear windows?
  • is it a soft, quiet ride?
  • how well does it brake and accelerate?
  • does it lose power with the air conditioning running?

Be sure to drive each vehicle on the same day for at least 30 minutes in order to effectively compare cars. You should also test drive both on the highway and off, and, if possible, in various driving conditions.

Mistake 4: Not Knowing Your Car’s Worth

Come prepared for negotiations by knowing your car’s worth. You can easily find this information in the Kelley Blue Book, the NADA Guides (National Automobile Dealer Association’s), or other similar guides.

Additionally, if you are trading in your old car, experts recommend you avoid any talk about the trade-in until after you have negotiated the price on the new car. This can help you avoid anyone ‘working’ the figures when negotiating for both vehicles; for example, claiming they are giving you a great deal on your trade only to make up the difference on the cost of the new car.

Mistake 5: Not Shopping Around for Financing

When it comes to financing a new car,  remember you are not limited to the dealer alone. Shop around and see what options banks, credit unions and online lenders can offer.

When comparing financing offers, you should avoid focusing on the monthly payment as it doesn’t accurately represent the total amount you’ll pay for the loan. Instead, compare the annual percentage rates (APR) and the length of the loan in order to pick the best deal.

In Summary

Buying a new car is a big financial investment and responsibility. Avoiding these common car buying mistakes can help you become a successful shopper and get the ride you’ve always wanted.

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