Buying a car was alien to him! (image)
Buying a car can be both an exciting time and a foolhardy one. After finally passing their driving test, first-time buyers are eager to get out on the road as soon as possible. And therein lies the problem. Having not bought a car before, mistakes can be made. If the car has four wheels and is a nice colour, it must be a worthy buy, right? Wrong, but here’s where we step in. The following are some of the common mistakes made by first-time car buyers.
Making a poor financial decision
This covers many bases, from spending too much money on a used or a new car, or spending too little in an effort to cut costs. Then there are car loans, with huge interest rates whacked on, leaving the unfortunate buyer in debt for years to come. It’s important to set a budget, leaving room for insurance and tax, and stick to it. Going over budget can lead to difficulties down the line, and buying something on the cheap can lead to its own issues, such as mistakenly buying a car that is only befitting of the scrap yard.
Buying on impulse
Buying the first car you see, whether it’s from a classified ad, dealership, or used car auctions, is a big mistake. Yes, it might look nice and be within a set budget, but there may be hidden problems, or you may be able to get a similar car cheaper elsewhere. Never buy with your heart, or without a thorough inspection. Take somebody with you if you feel unqualified to make a decision on roadworthiness, and shop around before making a decision.
Not going for a test drive
When buying from an auction, you won’t be able to take the car on a test drive. However, if buying from a dealership or a private seller, you must drive the car before purchasing to make sure everything performs as it should. You will also get a feel of the car, and have some understanding of the ‘joy factor’ that comes from driving it. When we say test drive, however, we are talking about a couple of hours, and not a quick ten-minute drive around the block, as there may be issues that only show up on a longer drive.
Not negotiating a price
Forget about the sticker on the car window. Most car sellers overprice the car slightly to accommodate some level of negotiation. So do your best to haggle with the seller, whether that’s lowering the price, getting some freebies, or trying to snag yourself a longer warranty period. As mentioned in our second point, it is worth taking somebody with you if you feel unconfident in your negotiation skills. Somebody with longer driving and car buying experience will know what to ask for, and are less likely to be taken for a ride when trying to secure a better deal.
These are the most common mistakes, but there are others. If you have made rookie mistakes yourself, let us know, and share your wisdom with those people who are eagerly looking to buy their first car.