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For the majority of us, a car is a necessity. We depend on them to commute to and from work, transport the family wherever needed, and sometimes even drive around and relax.

This is why the process of buying a new car can be very exciting but also very challenging. This is, after all, a significant investment, so it is only natural you want to ensure you are making the right choice.

Buying a car is nothing like buying a new pair of pants. You don’t usually get the chance to return the car if you get home and decide you are not content with it. No dealership is obligated to take back a brand-new vehicle you just purchased unless it proves to be faulty, so you need to be confident that you are driving out of the car shop satisfied with your choice.

There are a lot of things that can go wrong when buying a car, and most of these things end up hurting your finances. This is why you must take this process very seriously and don’t rush your decision. We can’t tell you which car to purchase or how much monthly payment you can afford, but we can tell you want not to do if you want the buying process to be as smooth as possible. So, without further ado, here are 4 mistakes people make when buying a new car and how to avoid them.

Not taking the time to evaluate the market

The fear of missing out on a seemingly good deal may prompt you to make rushed decisions without properly researching the market. With so many options available, taking the first deal you get may turn out to be more costly instead of saving you money.

Start by assessing your needs and budget to figure out which type of car is better suited for you. If, for example, you are going to be using this car mostly for family trips, a brand-new sports car may not be your best bet. On the other hand, if you mostly use your car to commute and to run errands, a small car is your best bet. Then, take the time to look at models that suit your needs. Once you have narrowed down your options to about 3-4 models, you can go ahead and start researching prices.

By doing this, you will prevent situations in which de dealer is trying to push a higher price than the market average. When they see you know what you are talking about, they will be discouraged to try all their sales techniques on you.

Fixating on a specific mark or model

As we mentioned above, you should pick at least three car models you want to learn more about before going hunting for a new car. This will prevent you from becoming fixated on a particular car model and missing out on potentially better options.

If nothing can convince you to at least give other models a try and you are convinced your choice is the best possible one for you, at least don’t let the dealer know that. They are some of the most fierce salespeople out there, so they are quite good at telling if a person is a bit too interested in a product. If your eyes start lighting up the moment you see a specific car model, the dealer will know they don’t need to put in any effort, and you are most likely going to buy that car. There is a fine line between being interested and being too enthusiastic.

Another reason why it’s never good to set your mind on one particular car model is that you will develop tunnel vision, and any other options that may be presented to you will pale in comparison even if they may be, in fact, a better fit.

Skipping a thorough test drive

A 5-minute test drive in the dealership’s backyard will never be enough to help you determine if the car you plan to buy is a good fit. For this, you need to take it for a proper test drive that involves more than taking a right at the first intersection, another right at the light, and then another right to get back to the dealership.

Keep in mind that a test drive is not for pointing out car faults but to determine whether a specific car is indeed suited for you. This means you need to take it on a proper ride that simulates the type of driving you will be doing with it on a daily basis. For example, if you use the highway a lot, you should be testing your car there as well and watch out for any strange noises.

Before you go on the test drive, make sure you are as familiar as possible with the car’s controls and buttons. The last thing you want is to enter the highway and not know where is the knob that turns out the headlights.

Underestimating the total cost of ownership

From a financial point of view, buying a car implies much more expense than the vehicle’s sale price. Even if you are not taking out a loan to pay for your car and you don’t have to worry about interest, the cost of ownership is much higher than the actual money you spend on the car. You will need to buy insurance, pay taxes, fill the tank, and pay for maintenance.

The cost of insurance varies based on a number of factors, including the make and model of the car, your experience as a driver, your age, and whether you have caused a car accident before or not. With this in mind, it may be worth researching insurance costs as well when looking for a new car to ensure it does not put a strain on your finances.
Maintenance on a car can get very expensive, especially as the car starts to add up mileage. Some experts estimate about 5% of a person’s annual salary goes into vehicle maintenance, and the numbers increase over time. Take this into consideration when looking for a new car and make sure you can afford to keep it on the road.