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Costly Mistakes To Avoid When Buying A Car

Many of us get excited about buying a new car. However, it’s important to approach the car buying process with care – certain mistakes could cost you a lot of money in the long run. Here are just some of the costliest mistakes to avoid when buying a car.

Mistakes To Avoid When Buying A Car

Not shopping around for finance

If you choose to buy a car on finance, it’s worth always comparing finance deals rather than settling with the first deal you can find. Many dealerships will be able to link you up with car finance companies, but they won’t always link you up to the cheapest lenders.

There are many sites and apps for comparing car finance deals. Some of these can tell you how likely you are to be accepted based on your credit score – this could save you applying and getting rejected, which could further harm your credit score.

Ignoring seller reviews

If you’re buying from a dealership, it’s wise to always check reviews before you choose to make a purchase. A bad reputation could be a sign that it’s best to steer clear. Such dealerships may be ripping customers off by selling cars that have hidden faults.

There are sites dedicated to car dealership reviews. You may also be able to find reviews on Google and on company social media pages.

Not taking a test drive

You should always test drive a vehicle before buying it. Not only does it give you an idea of what the car is like to handle, but it could also allow you to spot hidden faults that you may not otherwise detect. This could include weird noises or stiff gears or strange warning lights.

All sellers should offer a test drive. If a seller refuses the option of a test drive, it could be a sign that they’re hiding something, and you probably shouldn’t buy from them.  

Not doing vehicle background checks

Background checks obviously aren’t necessary if you’re buying a new car, but if you’re buying a used car, it’s good to always know its history. A trusted dealer will always be able to offer information on the vehicle’s past and should be able to supply all the necessary paperwork. Make sure to ask about this information if it’s not already provided.

There are sites that you can use to do your own background checks. These can be worth using – particularly if a car has missing paperwork.

Overlooking the running costs

On top of the purchase costs, it’s important to consider the running costs of the vehicle that you’re buying. Certain vehicles may be cheap to buy, but may not be very fuel-efficient and may cost a lot of money to insure.

You can look up the fuel economy of a vehicle online if the information isn’t already provided by the dealer. Older cars tend to be less fuel-efficient, so bear this in mind when buying an older model.

You can also research into insurance costs online. Use a broker to find cheap car insurance deals. If no provider offers affordable rates, you may want to look into buying another car.  

Not negotiating the price

Buying a car is one of the few times in which haggling is acceptable in western culture. Despite this, a lot of us still don’t negotiate the price when buying a car.

Most dealers are ready to knock 5% off the asking price if asked and may be willing to knock off even more if pushed. In order to successfully negotiate the price, tell the dealer that you’re on a tight budget.

Show your enthusiasm so that the dealer can see that you’re keen to make a purchase, but be willing to walk away if a deal hasn’t been offered – if they see you leaving they may be spurred on to offer a last minute discount.

Saying ‘yes’ to unnecessary extras

When buying from a dealership, you may find that you’re offered extras such as an extended warranty, new alloys or a roof box. This is an attempt to get more money out of you – unless you really want these extras, you should firmly tell them ‘no’.

In fact, even if some of these extras do take your fancy, you’re probably better off buying them somewhere else. The dealer may claim you’re getting a good deal on these extras, but often you’ll find that you can buy them somewhere else cheaper.

Not getting it in writing

Having a receipt from the purchase is important. A record of the sale will make it easier to claim a refund or seek legal action if you later discover you’ve been sold a car with faults that weren’t initially disclosed.

It’s worth asking for a written record of any missing documents or damage to the vehicle – by both signing this, it shows that you both agree to have acknowledged these faults. Seller contact details and an address are also important – any seller that refuses to provide these should be treated with caution.

Not putting things in writing is a mistake that many people make when buying from a private seller. Dealerships will usually always have contracts prepared (and if they don’t, you should enquire about them).

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