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Mistakes To Avoid Before Getting Your First Car

Cars play such an important role in our modern lives. We rely on our vehicles to get us to and from work, transport our children to school, and even just get around for fun. Being such an important aspect of our lives, most people find it exciting but frustratingly complex when it comes to purchasing a new vehicle. We all want a reliable, comfortable, and stylish car with an affordable price tag. Sometimes, first-time buyers can get lost in the initial excitement and ignore some red flags that end up causing them buyers remorse later down the road. 

Here are five common mistakes that first-time buyers often make and how to avoid them. 

Failing to Take Driving Lessons Before Your Purchase

There is nothing more frustrating than finally buying your first car only to have it sitting on your driveway for months undriven. Getting driving lessons from a professional instructor is a smart investment, as they will be able to help you progress quickly and pass your test. It is really important to consider what kind of car you will buy before booking your lessons as learning to drive an automatic is not going to equip you for a manual car and vice versa. In the US, the majority of cars tend to be automatics, but that is not the case in many other parts of the world. No matter what kind of transmission you learn to drive, a professional driving coach can help you identify and fix your errors and get your freshly minted license in no time. 

Shopping Based on Monthly Payments Alone

One thing that many car salespeople are likely to ask you is how much you are looking to spend a month. Most people are unlikely to walk into a car dealership and write a check to buy a car outright, and the salespeople know that. One common trick dealers use to make almost every car fit your budget is to find out what you can afford monthly and then simply adjust the interest rate and offer a longer-term on the car financing. However, adding extra months or years onto your financing plan can add thousands of dollars to the total cost of your new vehicle. 

To avoid this mistake, stand firm on negotiating one thing at a time; start by settling the car price first, then discuss trade-in and financing separately. Don’t bring up your trade-in or lease until you’ve agreed on the price.

Foregoing the Test Drive

The test drive is the single most important part of the car-buying process but is also one which far too many car buyers skip. You may fall in love with a car on the forecourt or that you have seen in a magazine, but the driving experience may not live up to your expectations, especially if you are buying a used vehicle. A test drive is your best chance to see how a car fits your expectations and your personal driving needs. A complete test drive of at least ten minutes is necessary to avoid any surprises post-purchase. To protect yourself against buyer’s remorse and ensure that the car is running properly, always, always ask for a test drive. 

Falling in Love with a Car

Emotions shouldn’t rule a tens of thousands of dollar purchase. Sometimes, during the purchasing process, buyers become infatuated with a car, and it blinds them to other better alternatives. This emotional and illogical approach can put you in a precarious position where a salesperson can play on your emotions and convince you to pay more than you should. To avoid this mistake, also come to a showroom with an open mind. Do your homework in advance, different research models, and assess your real wants and needs. Only settle on a vehicle that ticks the majority of your boxes.

Failing to Line up Financing Before Shopping

Never wait until you’re in the dealership to think about financing because it can place you in a position where you are vulnerable to the dealership’s manipulation. The dealers can apply different tactics like marking up your interest rate to get more money out of you. Knowing your budget makes negotiations easier and makes you immune to any upselling or sneaky sales tricks. It’s important to compare the interest rates of different financial institutions and get prequalified for an auto loan before meeting your dealers. If your dealer offers a better rate, you can always choose that deal instead.

Buying your first car doesn’t have to be a difficult experience. If you do your homework properly, you will be able to make a mindful and informed decision. Spend your money wisely on a car that you can afford and which meets your needs. If you have to borrow, borrow wisely, get the minimum possible interest rate you can, and put as much money down as you can.

2 thoughts on “Mistakes To Avoid Before Getting Your First Car

  1. 1st rule:
    NEVER answer the question “How much can you afford each month?”

  2. So very true I guess of the cheapest car you can find. As long as safe you’ll be OK.

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