The Costliest Car Buying Mistakes
Let’s face it, buying a car whether new or used is a huge endeavor and should not be taken lightly. Auto Expert recommends that buying a car should involve research, research, research. On a recent post on our blog, Tips to Buying a Car, we explain how you should research 1) your credit 2) the car(s) that interest you and 3) the dealership and their tactics.
According to Yahoo’s article, The Costliest Car Buying Mistakes, there are 8 common misconceptions when buying a car that can cost you a pretty penny. Here’s what they had to say:
- Confusing Wants with Needs – Having a convertible is a nice feature to have, especially with SoCal’s famous weather. However, if you have a family of 4 (especially if that includes two small children), is that practical? Convertibles are considered luxury, so not only are you going to pay more, but it might cost you convenience and cause you hassle when reality hits.
- Test Driving the Wrong Trim – According to Yahoo’s article, “Be wary of dealers who give you the highest trim level of a car to test drive and then proceed to sell you a trim that better fits your budget. Car shoppers who fall for this trick usually end up sorely disappointed with the car's performance and features. To avoid making this mistake, test drive the exact trim you plan to buy before signing any papers.”
- Sacrificing Reliability with Appeal – Don’t judge a book by its cover, so just because a car looks good, it doesn’t necessarily mean it performs well. Check out Consumer Reports and reviews on J.D. Powers to see how your car rates.
- Not Know What Others Paid – You wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) buy a house without knowing what other neighbors paid for a house similar to yours. Same holds true with cars. Research what others are paying for your car of interest to see if your price is similar.
- Underestimating Your Trade-In – Always research the value of your trade. Two good sources are Kelley Blue Book or NADA Guides. The dealer will almost always lower the amount of your trade to provide you with the “awesome” deal they’re giving you on your new vehicle. Nothing is done until the paperwork is signed, so if the dealer is not willing to give you the fair value of your trade, find another dealer who can. A side note, the best amount you’ll receive for your trade-in is if you sell it yourself, private party. However, are you willing to go through that hassle?
- Buying Options You Don’t Need – All base models are just that - base, plain, economical - which means it’s less expensive. The more options you want on your vehicle, the higher trim your vehicle will become, which means more money. For example, if you want navigation, you’ll probably get a higher trim that comes with leather interior, sun roof, and many other options.
- Not Cross-Shopping Deals – According to the article, one of the costliest mistakes car shoppers can make is forgetting to cross-shop car deals just as they would competing vehicles -- though doing so can help save them bundles. Take, for example, the similarly-priced Nissan Versa and Chevrolet Aveo. Recently, the Aveo was offered with zero-percent financing for up to 72 months. Nissan, on the other hand, was only offering 1.9 percent financing for up to 60 months plus $500 cash on the Versa. At first glance, the Aveo appears to be the better deal. However, a simple crunching of the numbers reveals that the Versa’s monthly payment would actually turn out to be a bit less than the Aveo -- assuming an equal down payment of course. Don’t let carefully-crafted sales promotions mislead you into thinking that you’re getting the best deal around. Be meticulous in comparing car deals for competing vehicles, and remember that these deals change monthly.”
Only Thinking in Terms of Monthly Payments – Remember, you’re paying interest and fees over the life of a loan, so you’re usually paying a couple thousand more when financing your vehicle. You should calculate the interest and fees when determining the price of your vehicle so you understand the “full” amount of what you’re paying for.
The Auto Expert Difference
Auto Expert is different from dealers, private party and other brokering services. Below are the main differences between us and the other guys.
- We are your personal shopper from beginning to end, and everything in between. We assist you in finding the vehicle, financing and delivering the vehicle to you.
- We deal directly with the management of the dealership, removing the salesperons’ commission. And, we receive a volume discount.
- We work with a selection of dealerships throughout southern California, so our inventory is endless.
- We have separate trade-in vendors who bid on your trade. This allows for a fair appraisal without influencing the purchase price of your new vehicle.
The Other Guys:
Dealers, Salesperson – Individual walking onto a dealer lot
- The salesperson will add their commission onto the price of the car
- Cornered into the manager’s manager’s manager’s office to discuss everything under the sun
- Dealers are able to trade vehicles from other dealers, if they are willing to. However, the dealer’s goal is to sell whatever they have available on their lot, whether or not this matches your specifications.
- If you trade-in your vehicle, dealers will usually increase the amount of the trade to make up for the “great price” you’re getting on your new car.
- Dealers will up sell you aftermarket products, GAP and extended warranties at inflated prices.
Dealers, Internet Sales Managers
- Just like an individual sales person at the dealer, just their territory is the Internet.
- Chance of the Bait and Switch, which is the promising of having the vehicle you want at the price you want and then switching the vehicle and/or price when you arrive at the dealer.
- You still have to pick up the vehicle at the dealer.
- A vehicle for sale directly from the owner.
- Usually great for older, inexpensive vehicles.
- Auto Expert does not find their vehicles through private parties because of the issue of warranties and other issues a private party is not able to cover.
Other brokering services, like Costco and AAA
You still have to go to the dealer of choice, meet with the finance person, and wait to have the vehicle prepped before you can leave the dealer which adds time and stress to the process.
- Most brokering companies, excluding Auto Expert, only coordinates in finding a recommended dealer.