AutoTrader Offers Auto Shopping Tips to Consumers


PR Newswire

As the year begins to wind down, more con­sumers think in terms of buy­ing a new car, but experts warn of 7 pit­falls to stay away from.

Deal­ers should be aware of this advice being offered to car shoppers.

“Buy­ing a car is some­thing peo­ple usu­ally only do at most every few years, so nat­u­rally the right way to go about it isn’t always top of mind,” said Brian Moody, site edi­tor.  “But a mis­step dur­ing the shop­ping process could turn a great deal into a money pit in the long run.”

The edi­tors have iden­ti­fied seven of the most com­mon mis­takes peo­ple make when shop­ping for a car – and how to avoid them:

1. Nego­ti­at­ing the price based on monthly pay­ment
“This is one of the most com­mon and expen­sive mis­takes peo­ple make,” Moody says. “It may seem more afford­able to stretch out your pay­ments over a longer term to give you that lower monthly pay­ment, but in the end you’re pay­ing much more. Nego­ti­ate total price first. If the pay­ment is too high, then you’re get­ting a sign that the car is out­side your budget.”

2. Not get­ting a mechan­i­cal inspec­tion
When shop­ping for a used car, an inspec­tion is impor­tant. “Just because a car sounds and runs fine dur­ing the test drive, doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean every­thing is in top work­ing order,” Moody says. “Cars are com­plex machines, and noth­ing is worse than an expen­sive repair shortly after you drive the vehi­cle home.”

3. Buy­ing things you don’t need
The experts say this goes back to a key tenet in car shop­ping: make a list of wants and needs before ever set­ting foot in a deal­er­ship and stick to it. Fac­tory and dealer-installed options add up quickly.

4. Not run­ning a vehi­cle his­tory report
While not a replace­ment for a mechan­i­cal inspec­tion, edi­tors say his­tory reports are a quick, usu­ally fairly low-cost way to get a sense of if a car is what a seller says it is.

5. Not tak­ing a thor­ough test drive experts say test dri­ves should be at least 45 min­utes on a vari­ety of roads and dri­ving con­di­tions. Also shop­pers should make sure to bring fam­ily mem­bers and big­ger per­sonal items (strollers, golf clubs, etc.) to make sure the car fits their lifestyle.

6. Falling in love with the car before you buy it
“While we know peo­ple have emo­tional attach­ments to cars, it’s impor­tant to stay focused on the fact that this is a major pur­chase,” Moody says. “Play it cool until the deal is done.”

7. Not shop­ping around edi­tors rec­om­mend test dri­ving as many of the com­pet­i­tive vehi­cles as pos­si­ble, then nar­row the selec­tion and visit sev­eral dif­fer­ent deal­er­ships. “This will give you peace of mind that you’ve found the right car for you at the best pos­si­ble price,” Moody said.