12 Missteps First-Time Car Buyers Make
Posted on June 20, 2019
Learn some of the most common car buying mistakes from those who came before you!
Making car mistakes can be frustrating and oftentimes if we’re not aware of what to look for, or aren’t well-versed in the car industry, it ends up costing us.
So, we’re here to help prevent that from happening!
At Rubber Bros Auto World, buying a used car is a great start to your car journey! Learn from others’ mistakes for the best first-time car experience! Read all about them below!
Avoid These 12 Missteps as a First-Time Car Buyer
It is estimated that each person will own roughly six cars in their lifetime — which is six different experiences you’ll have with private auto sellers, dealerships, or online car databases. If any of these car transactions go sour and you get a lemon, it can be equally frustrating, time-consuming, and costly.
So, what if you were armed with important information from the get-go to save you the pangs and quite possibly your pocketbook? Alas, it will be revealed here!
Not Shopping Around!
The classic song from The Miracles had it right when they exclaimed, my mama told me, you better shop around!
Folks, do your research!
A used car is an investment and because they’re not factory-new, there are many more things to consider. Don’t settle on the first thing that is shiny; walk onto a dealership with some knowledge.
And after the salesperson gives you the low-down on the car, take a moment, and confirm things on your phone. Kbb.com and edmunds.com are great resources.
When you do search online, don’t just go to the nearest used car dealership near you — look into not only the dealership but also the car dealers. There are a myriad of review platforms where you can dig into and read all about other peoples’ experiences.
Not Having a Set Budget
You don’t want to be car poor, so take a hard look at your finances and come up with a car budget that makes sense for you. Not only will this help you in your search, but you have a definitive number for a salesperson and this is power!
Not Standing Your Ground
Many people walk onto car dealerships and give away their power right away because they feel out of place or because they have limited car knowledge — don’t let this stop you.
It’s ok to feel nervous and vulnerable when you approach the lot, but quell it and stand your ground. Used car dealers smell this like sharks smell blood and will tend to offer you car deals that are more in the interest of them than you — the customer.
Ask the questions that are relevant to you, such as financing, and if they can’t get clear on an answer, consider going elsewhere.
Just remember, you hold the power and be willing to walk if things feel off or they can’t speak to the questions you asked.
Not Factoring in All the Costs
Many times a car can be enticing to a new buyer because the monthly payments fit within their monthly budget, but forget the other costs that come with owning a car.
Beyond car payments, you have the initial registration, emissions, and license plate costs, car insurance, maintenance and repairs, and fuel costs. These can add up and put you in a bind all because it was difficult to look past the monthly payment.
Some first-time buyers get stuck in the mindset of only buying new, without even considering buying a used car. Used car sales have come a long way — they’re no longer the 40-year old car that barely makes it off the lot. Many used cars are like-new or a couple of years old and in great condition.
One of the best perks about buying a used car is you can find a make and model in a specific year that fits within your budget!
Choosing Long-Term Financing
Lower monthly payments are often enticing to new car buyers, but they come with longer terms such as 72-months instead of the more traditional 36-months.
While long-term financing does lower your monthly payments it increases the total cost of your car, because remember, there is interest! So extending your car payments can often add thousands of dollars to the initial cost.
Your Needs Are Trumped By Car Love!
It’s easy to walk around a dealership and compromise what you need for love at first sight! You may need a car that gets good gas mileage because you have a long commute, but fall in love with a Jeep because that’s what Cher drove in the movie Clueless!
While a sports car may be fun and exciting, it’s not ideal for a family of five!
Buying a Car Based Solely on Its Appearance
It’s easy for any car dealership to buff and make a piece of junk look nice, so don’t fall for the “it looks good and feels good” ploy.
If you question anything, hire an outside mechanic to look at it or even take along one of your friends who is more of a car expert to help assess the car’s actual condition.
Caving To The Sales Pressure
Listen, the salespeople know how to lay the pressure on thick! They can spot a first-time car buyer from a mile away, and put the pressure on to sell them a car they don’t need and likely one they can’t afford.
Do not buckle under the pressure!
Listen to their salesy language and if you hear phrases such as, “this is the deal of the day,” “I can only keep this offer on the table for the next two hours,” or “let’s see you drive off the lot with a car today,” you know the pressure is on!
If you feel pressured at all, just walk away. Even if they try to win you back, politely decline and get off the lot! It’s always a good idea to take along a friend so you can’t be cornered and have someone to back you up.
Getting Caught Up in The Features
A GPS makes sense if you commute or drive a lot for your job, but how crucial is it to you if you don’t spend much time in your car? It’s all about discernment — what do you really need?
It’s the little things like a sun/moonroof, are they really needed? Or, perhaps it’s the heated seats — if you live in Florida you’ll rarely, if ever, need to use them!
Not Actually Getting Behind The Wheel
Always test drive the car you intend to buy, always! There are so many people who look at the car and know how well it looks on paper, that they don’t actually take it out for a spin!
Don’t be this person.
A test drive can tell you so much about a car. For example, if you’re short, there are actually some cars that you may not actually be able to drive comfortably in because you’re straining to push the gas. Or, what if you’re tall and you don’t have enough head clearance?
There are even people who have back issues that cannot sit for long periods in a certain type of car because of what the seat was made.
This is where mistakes are made — because you didn’t even know what to look for!
Rushing Through the Paperwork
Paperwork is anxiety-inducing — there is a lot of signing under verbiage that you may or may not understand.
So, take the time to understand. Ask the questions!
This is a big investment and you don’t want to end up on the wrong side of it because you didn’t understand it.
When you don’t take ownership of your side, you can easily be taken advantage of. Perhaps everything looks great and buttoned up, but don’t forget the items that don’t show up in the final bill.
You may have discussed them adding a new stereo system or repairing interior seat damage — ensure they add what you discussed to the line items portions of the contract.
Buying a car for your first time can feel overwhelming, but it’s vital to have a good foundation and understand past mistakes so you can avoid making them yourself.
For a used car dealership you can trust with people who put you first, reach out to Rubber Bros Auto World Today!