9 Common Car Buying Mistakes

At some point in their lives almost everyone will purchase a car. Since buying a car is one of the biggest purchases you will make in your life it's a good idea to know what to do and what not do.
Listed below are the top nine mistakes that car buyers make when purchasing a new car, and how to avoid them on their next vehicle purchase.

1.   Not buying based on current need.
A great first step is to sit down and truly assess what you need out of your car. Do you need to haul around kids and all of their equipment? Do you just need a second family car to go to work every day? Where do you do most of your driving, in the city or on the highway? Answering these types of questions will ensure you are buying exactly the car you will need. Try to plan two or three years out, so that you don't have buy again shortly but avoid planning too far in advance. Just because you would like to someday own a boat doesn't mean you need a heavy-duty truck right now.

2.   Assuming you will use dealer financing.

There are times when dealer financing can be a great deal. If their financing company is offering special low interest or lease payments it may be beneficial to use the dealer's financing. But you should always know what rate you can get from your bank or credit union before you walk into a dealership. After all, you want the best all-around deal.

3.   Leasing because you can't afford to buy.

If you are the type of person who likes getting a new car every two or three years, leasing is probably for you. But going in to a dealership thinking you are going to lease because you don't have much or any cash for a down payment is not good for your overall financial well being. If you can't afford to put some money down, don't buy unless you absolutely have to. Sites like CarLocate.com have finance calculators which can give you an idea of what your monthly payments will be and help you determine if you can afford the car or not.

4.   Opting for unnecessary upgrades.
Cars come with all kinds of options and packages these days. Some of these upgrades may be important to you. Traveling salesmen or families who take a lot of road trips would probably be wise to choose the navigation system. But most of these upgrades do little to the overall value of the car and their cost will depreciate much faster than the whole car. Make sure the upgrades you do get are something you absolutely need before buying.

5.   Being spontaneous.
Everybody knows you should do your research before buying a car, and with the internet that is even easier and more important than ever. Going into a dealership spontaneously might have you leaving with something you don't need, or will end up not liking in a few years. It could also mean you end up paying more than you should for your new car.

6.   Visiting only one dealership.
Along with doing research comes comparison shopping. In most major cities there is more than one dealer for each manufacturer. Make sure you know which one is offering the best price and check their rebates and incentives. Sites like CarLocate.com make this process even easier by letting you compare inventory from multiple dealers without having to spend all weekend going to dealerships.

7.   Not considering a used car.
Used cars can be a steal if you know where to look. There are used cars coming to the market every day. You can easily get a vehicle just off a lease for a great price. A used car will depreciate much slower than a new car. When shopping for a used vehicle, be patient, keep searching inventories until you find the perfect car for you then start the buying process.

8.   Buying at the beginning of the month or year.
We all know that salesmen make their living on commission. At the beginning of the month or year there is no telling what the rest of the month will hold. For all the salesman knows the month may be his highest ever. But at the end of the month he knows what he needs to sell to make his goals and earn his commission potential. Knowing what he needs to do in a few short days will likely inspire him to put you in a new car at a great price.

9.   Not knowing the market.
The automotive market is constantly changing. There may be some reason that new car production is slow this year or the used car market may be running low on supplies for various reasons. On the flip side, the market could be in your favor, demand might not have been as high as manufacturers predicted and dealers may have a lot of inventory to sell off. Knowing what the situation is, and especially the market for your desired car can make sure you are getting the most fair price, and will ensure you aren't caught off guard when your car is more expensive than it would have been a year or two ago.


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