Buying a car isn’t like buying an item of clothing! You can’t return it if you don’t like it. And unless there’s an actual fault, the seller has no obligation to refund you or to accept any liability if you’ve simply changed your mind. Because the car buying process is fraught with opportunity to make bad decisions and even lose money, it helps to know in advance what pitfalls you may face. Here are 5 mistakes to avoid when buying a car.
1. Not doing enough research
Your first step in the car buying process should always be research. Knowing how much the car is worth will help you make a realistic offer and stick to your price when it comes to negotiating. So, read reviews about the make of car you’re considering. Talk to a mechanic about the cost of servicing the car. Contact your insurer to get an idea of how much insurance cover will cost. And compare deals and offers online so you know you’re paying the best price.
2. Getting side-tracked by features
Determine your wants and needs from a car by listing the features that are important to you. A small run-around versus a large family car? Something for off-road or for towing the boat? Or a flashy 2-seater for weekend road trips? Not identifying up front what you want and need from a car wastes time, and it could even lead to unplanned impulse-buys if you’re easily persuaded by car sales people!
3. Not negotiating the sales price
Most private sellers – and even car dealerships – allow some wiggle room for negotiation, and it’s quite uncommon for those buying a car to simply accept the sticker price without a bit of haggling first. While negotiating on price can feel uncomfortable for most people, it’s always worth asking for a sweeter deal!
4. Skipping a test drive
Test driving the car is one of the most important parts of the car buying process. So many cars look ideal on paper, but the test drive reveals all sorts of issues. This is your chance to see how the car measures up to your expectations and if it fits you and your lifestyle. It’s vital you take enough time to do a complete test drive of any car you’re considering. You may even want to arrange a pre-sales mechanical check to be sure there aren’t any issues under the hood.
5. Waiting until you’re ready to buy before thinking about finance
You might be fantastic at negotiating a good car deal, but if you fail to choose the right financing for your car, you could end up paying more in the long-run. Getting pre-approved car finance before shopping for a car helps you stick to your budget and means you’re not wasting time viewing cars you can’t afford.
For more tips on personal finance, home loans and insurance, follow Mortgage Express on Facebook. Be sure to share your car buying tips too so others can learn from you!
While all care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, no warranty is given as to the accuracy of the information and no responsibility is taken by Finservice Pty Ltd (Mortgage Express) for any errors or omissions. This publication does not constitute personalised financial advice. It may not be relevant to individual circumstances. Nothing in this publication is, or should be taken as, an offer, invitation, or recommendation to buy, sell, or retain any investment in or make any deposit with any person. You should seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt within this publication. A Disclosure Statement is available on request and free of charge.
Finservice Pty Ltd (Mortgage Express) is authorised as a corporate credit representative (Corporate Credit Representative Number 397386) to engage in credit activities on behalf of BLSSA Pty Ltd (Australian Credit Licence number 391237) ACN 123 600 000 | Full member of MFAA | Member of Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) | Member of Choice Aggregation Services.