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The Costliest Car Buying Mistakes

By January 12, 2010February 18th, 2020Tips when buying a car

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:

1. 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 going to pay more, but it might cost you convenience and cause you hassle when reality hits.

2. 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.”

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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?

6. 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.

7. 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.”

8. 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.