3 Common Car-buying Mistakes

Buying a new car can be exciting. But it’s also a complex process through which you can end up overpaying by hundreds or thousands of dollars or with a vehicle that you won’t be happy with down the road. Below are the top 3 common mistakes that beginner car buyers often make.

1. Falling in love with a model.
When spending tens of thousands of dollars on a car, emotion shouldn’t rule the day. Becoming infatuated with a single model can blind you to alternative vehicles that may be better for your needs or make you skimp on thoroughly researching a vehicle’s ratings, reviews, reliability, or safety and pricing information. To determine which vehicle is best for you, you should set emotion aside and focus on doing your homework, comparing different models, and assessing your real wants and needs. There will be plenty of time for emotion after you’ve bought the vehicle.

2. Skipping the test drive.
The test drive is one of the most important parts of the car-buying process. A lot of vehicles look good on paper–especially in glossy brochure photos–but the test drive is your best chance to see how a vehicle measures up to expectations and how well it “fits” you and your family. You don’t want any surprises after you’ve bought it. That’s why it’s surprising that many people give vehicles only a token test or, worse, none at all. That is a mistake and a sure recipe for buyer remorse. It’s critical that you take ample time–at least 30 minutes–to conduct a complete test drive and perform a thorough walk-around of any vehicle you’re considering.

3. Underestimating the value of modern safety features.
Today’s vehicles offer an array of advanced safety features. But many buyers don’t know which are most important or what to look for when comparing vehicles. Antilock brake systems (ABS), electronic stability control (ESC), and head-protecting side air bags, for instance, are effective and well worth the money. Studies have shown that ESC can significantly reduce accidents and fatalities. The feature is especially important for SUVs, because it can help prevent rollovers. Side-crash tests show that head-protecting side air bags are critical in preventing fatalities in side impacts. Unfortunately, you can’t always depend on a dealership’s salespeople to give you accurate information or reliable guidance about these features. That’s why you should thoroughly research the benefit of all available safety features and look for vehicles that have the ones that will best protect you and your family.

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