Common Mistakes First Time Car Buyers Make

You’ve saved your nickels and dimes are ready to acquire your first shiny new ride. You are duly excited, however, you could wind up making a misstep that could cost you beaucoup bucks down the road. Here are some common mistakes the average first-time car buyer makes that can swiftly turn that initial exhilaration into buyer’s remorse.

  1. Failing To Shop Around

Avoid the temptation to merely go to the neighborhood dealership or one recommended by a family member or friend. Spend time researching vehicles and automotive dealerships in your area and check out digital resources such as dealer websites and car review sites.

  1. Giving The Dealer Too Much Bargaining Power

Unfortunately, some dealers will try to exploit the nervousness or vulnerability common to a first-time car buyer. However, they do want your business; so ask about finance options for new customers. 

  1. Focusing On Monthly Payments Alone

It’s easy to be wooed by low monthly payments, zero-down payment offers, or longer financing terms. These can obscure the real price of car ownership, which includes repairs, refueling costs, maintenance, and insurance.

  1. Signing For Long-Term Financing

Many first-time car buyers choose longer finance terms to keep monthly payments down. However, such terms — 72 months versus 36 months, for example — raises the vehicle’s overall cost. For the optimal overall deal, consider purchasing a less-expensive vehicle, saving for a larger down payment, and getting finance terms of 60 months or less.

  1. Ignoring Your Needs

New-car buyers frequently become enamored with a vehicle for its appearance, performance, or features — but neglect to factor in their actual needs. While a fire-breathing sports car would likely be thrilling, it would make a poor family car or daily driver. When shopping, take a friend along to help keep you grounded.

  1. Foregoing The Test Drive

Two of the same types of car can vary in performance, cabin noise, ride quality, and options, so be sure to test drive before you sign a contract. When you are testing behind the wheel, do not settle for the car if there is something you do not like about it. Be certain the car whose test drive you most enjoy is the one you buy.

  1. Succumbing To Pressure

Some unscrupulous dealers, once they know this is your first go-round, will put the pressure on you to purchase a ride you do not need or cannot afford. If you feel pressured, no matter how much you like the vehicle, be ready to turn on your heels and walk away.

  1. Not Understanding The Finance Contract

There are no do-overs, so know what you are doing before you sign that paperwork. For one thing, you want to guard against dealerships that might take advantage of unsuspecting first-time car buyers. After negotiating pricing, vehicle options, and financing, make sure items the price of which the dealer should cover are not on the financing contract. Be certain you are getting all you requested, and nothing you did not.

  1. Waiting Until You Are In The Dealership To Think About Financing

You may be good at numbers, but if you are not careful, you could lose all that you saved on a car’s purchase price, and then some. This is why it’s vital to shop around for financing. Also, check interest rates at banks or credit unions to get the best terms possible. Now that you know the common mistakes first-time buyers make, your car-buying experience will be much easier and less prone to creating anxiety.

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