In a lot of ways, buying a car is similar to having a baby. At first, they smell good, the amount of attention their pictures get on Facebook can nearly break the internet, and there seems to be an endless stream of compliments from family and friends. When something is wrong, neither a car nor a baby will hesitate to let you know of their ailment in a very loud way. The expenses are endless and plentiful, but if you give them the love and attention they deserve, they turn out alright. The process is stressful for both the parent and the owner, and there is a laundry list of mistakes that a buyer can make. Here are common pitfalls that prospective car owners should avoid.
Failing To Do Your Research:
Before you step foot in a dealership, do your homework. The internet puts power into the hands of the consumer and strips it from the salesperson. Learn about car makes and models, pricing, and anything else a crafty salesperson might hope you don’t know.
Not Shopping Around:
Sales associates are not your friends. They look at you the way the Great White Shark looks at Nemo in the coastal waters of Australia. The ‘best deal’ at one dealership could be $1,500 less at a competing dealership directly across the street. Even if you walk away with nothing, you can at least be grateful that you’re not experiencing a bout of buyer’s remorse.
Pro Tip: Play the competition to your advantage by making up an ‘agreed upon price,’ and tell the competing dealership about the offer. You can either lower the cost substantially or wind up with a free maintenance package.
Short Test Drives:
A smart buyer makes sure to test drive in as many terrains as possible. Back streets and highways are just as important to test drive as Main Street, USA. Knowing how the car handles at different speeds and qualities of roads is important. Some people even make it a point to go car shopping in inclement weather to make for a more thorough test run.
A buyer can get overwhelmed at the number of cars available, and there might be an urge to get the whole thing over with quickly. Don’t be that person. Take your time and do your research. This is an important decision to make.
Buying Into An Up-Sale:
Research and financing can help define a budget for a car buyer. Many buyers come in with a plan and a strong idea of what they want. Then they blow that budget out of the water by getting talked into buying another more expensive, or simply unnecessary, car. Ask yourself: ‘Can I afford this?’ before you sign any paperwork. If you don’t trust your negotiation skills, bring a good friend or family member who’s been around the block a few times. Stay in your budget!
Buying the Deal Rather Than the Car:
Car makers have been offering 0% financing and cash rebates to encourage customers to buy certain models. These deals can save you money, but a deal is only as good as the car you’re buying. Remember, ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.’
Ignoring Long-Term Costs:
Don’t forget that a car is an investment for the future. Costs don’t end once you’ve bought the car. That snazzy sports car may be flashy and fun, but what is its MPG? If you don’t know how to properly maintain your car, you may wind up running your bank account and your car into the ground simultaneously.
Choosing Looks Over Functionality:
Bright and smooth, fast cars are sexy; why else would there be so many ‘Fast and Furious’ movies? A racer has every right to get a car built for speed and power (even if street racing is illegal.) A lot of people want the speed demon that spits fire out of the exhaust when you accelerate, but what many don’t realize is that these flashy features are just for show, and can leave you with a hefty bill when they need to be repaired. Focus on what you need, not what you want.
It boils down to getting the best car for your needs and your wallet. Your car isn’t a baby, it’s a car, and that’s how it should feel. Unlike having a baby, you can customize cars and make them whatever you want. You might even want one with a killer sound system, something not optional with a baby. Since you get to choose, make sure you know everything when you get a car. Use the tools around you to get a car that will work to serve you and your needs, then pair it with an affordable insurance. Visit www.good2go.com to get a free, no-obligation quote for low-cost, minimum limits auto insurance that can keep you driving legal for less.
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