Car Buying Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make


It’s okay to get excited when you’re buying a car. The trick is to balance that excitement with common sense. There are so many potential mistakes that you can make when shopping for a vehicle. Because it’s such a big-ticket item, and can’t be returned if you discover you don’t like it, it’s important to shop smart. Here are some common mistakes to avoid, and ways to avoid them, when purchasing a car.

  • Conducting insufficient research. When you are buying a car, the Internet should be your friend. Take the time to research what type of vehicle you want, including makes, models, years and trim. Compare and contrast models you like, taking into consideration everything that’s important to you, such as reliability, safety, and, of course, price. If you do sufficient research when shopping for a new vehicle, you won’t be swayed by dealers or others who try to talk you into something you really don’t need.

  • Focusing only on one car model. While you are narrowing down your choices, don’t hone in on just one specific model. Keep your options open. If a dealer picks up on the fact that you are completely blown away by a certain model, he is less likely to offer you any flexibility on price.  Additionally, you don’t want to focus on just one model as you might end up missing other models that are more suited to you.

  • Shortening your test drive. Make sure your test drive is long enough to really feel how a car handles. Back out of a parking space, take left and right turns, change lanes lanes, accelerate, and brake quickly so that you can see how these actions feel in this particular vehicle. You must be comfortable driving a car before you buy it. If you aren’t, move on to another model.

  • Believing the sticker price is firm. Realize that the sticker price on the vehicle’s window is suggested, and usually not set in stone. If you have done your research, you should already have a good idea of what similar vehicles are selling for before you start negotiations. The seller wants to sell their car and, as long as you are in a reasonable ballpark, isn’t going to laugh you out of the sale for starting negotiations too low.

  • Accepting unneeded extras. If you decide to buy a new car or a car from a dealer, don’t let the dealer talk you into things you really don’t need, which may seem like a really tiny amount added to your monthly payment but adds up quickly over the course of your loan. 

  • Receiving a low trade-in value for your current vehicle. Dealers are notoriously stingy when it comes to the trade-in value of your car. It’s best if you can sell your vehicle privately, as you can obtain a much higher price for it than what the dealer will offer you.  Shameless plug: Trusted Sale can help you sell your car while offering the same benefits that dealers do (such as extended warranties, financing for buyers, handling the transaction, and managing the bill of sale) without you having to accept a low-ball offer just so the dealership can turn around and mark it up.

  • Having tunnel vision regarding monthly payments. Be careful with focusing too much on how much your monthly payment for a vehicle will be. Remember that the dealer has flexibility to lower these based upon the length of the loan so they can make a car look like a great deal when it may not be.  In the long run, you’ll end up paying more overall at higher interest rates for a longer term loan. Make sure you’re comfortable with the total amount of the purchase with interest included prior to agreeing to long-term financing.

  • Not having a car inspected. If you are buying a used car, the rule of thumb is to always have it inspected before purchasing it. Use a trusted mechanic to give you a professional inspection. This way, there won’t be any surprises when you get your car home.  Trusted Sale encourages sellers to have the vehicle inspected prior to the sale so that there are no surprises for anybody. Shameless plug: Trusted Sale also pulls the vehicle history report for the VIN so that you know exactly what you’re buying.

  • Ignoring the used car market. It can be tempting to buy a brand new car – who doesn’t love that new car smell? But, realistically, brand new cars depreciate the fastest. Shopping around for the same make/model in a gently used condition with low mileage can help your investment hold its value better than one that depreciates as soon as it rolls off the lot. Not comfortable making a vehicle purchase without a dealer? Trusted Sale can help! Find out how!