So you’ve decided it’s time to get a new car. It’s a fun time but also one that can be stressful. Buying a car isn’t the easiest process and lots of little things tend to get in the way, but there are specific things not to do when buying a car.

The problem when making a big decision like buying a car is people easily overlook details. Rather than telling you what you should do I’m going to make it easy, here’s a list of just two things not to do when purchasing a car.

Why two?

I feel people remember things they shouldn’t do better. The consequences sink in more, making them think about their choices, and well, a list of two is just too small to forget.

Table of Contents

Things Not To Do When Buying A Car Secret #1: Not Researching The Vehicle First

Person researching things not to do when buying a car
Doing Thorough Research Before Making A Big Purchase

Read Reviews

With the internet revolution, gone are the days of having to physically go to dealerships just to get information about a vehicle. I tell people all the time that the internet is one giant encyclopedia. Luckily for cars, it’s one of the biggest.

Automotive journalists write tons of reviews on all types of cars you may be interested in. Furthermore, if you don’t have a specific car in mind, motoring websites have a plethora of educated suggestions that can steer you into the vehicle you need.

Youtube is my go-to source for reviews on vehicles. There are literally thousands of hours of research, opinions, and reviews by journalists as well as real owners.

This information will save you tons of time and money plus give you key insights into ownership, maintenance, and quality of vehicles.

Find Value

Money is probably one of the main factors that make car purchasing complicated, especially when buying used. Knowing a good price for your car is key in finding a good deal.

Kelly Blue Book is probably the most ubiquitous car pricing website but a ton of others exist. Websites like CarGurus give you a range of selling prices for cars like yours based on mileage, trim, geographical location, etc. letting you know instantly if you have a good deal or not.

Look At The Vehicle History

After you’ve narrowed down some cars and checked them out online, you want to find out about the history. Carfax or Autocheck are prerequisites nowadays.

The more you know about the history of your potential car the better. Maintenance reports are the best if you can get them.

Mostly you want to see that the car was fairly well cared for and doesn’t have hidden damage. Especially with things like classic cars.

Interested in classic cars? Check out this post on why you should buy one right now.

Accident cars aren’t always bad (cosmetic) but I tend to avoid them altogether. The thing with accident-damaged cars is, you just don’t know how the vehicle was repaired or what parts were used.

Even if you could get all that info, why would you want to take the risk?

The same goes for Lemon buybacks.

They’re out there but the discount doesn’t seem worthwhile for the potential headache. I would pay a little more to be worry-free and I think most people would too.

Research is the most important phase of buying a car. The more you know about what you want to buy the easier it is when you get there.

Don’t go out to buy a car without researching first. You’ll be handicapping yourself from the start.

Things Not To Do When Buying A Car Secret #2: Not Having A Plan

planning out the things not to do when buying a car.
Write Out Your Plan

Find Multiples

So after you’ve done your research, you want to come up with a plan. Narrowing down your search to a few select vehicles will help take the pressure off if one of them doesn’t check out.

Cars may sell before you get to them or they just might not be the same as advertised, so having more than one to fall back on will keep you from starting over and wasting time.

Multiple cars will also keep you from being pressured into overpaying. Salesmen love to tell you things “won’t last” in an effort to lock you into a deal.

Re-Affirm Your Selection

Test drives are the fun phase of the purchase. You can learn a lot from test drives. Watch some videos online on how to test drive a car and what to look for.

Looking for noises, shakes and unusual driving behavior is a crude summary of it but the information online is a lot more in-depth and thorough so it’s better that I do not try to explain it.

The question after getting through the basic checks is do you like the car? Do you like how it drives and does it fit your needs? If it doesn’t you may just want to move on.

Stick To The Budget

Part, or perhaps the core, of the plan, is a budget. Knowing how much you should pay for a car helps but having a “walk away” price will make deciding easier.

A “walk away” price is the very highest you are willing to pay. That ceiling allows you to move on from a deal without feeling guilty.

Once you have decided this number it is very important you stick to your guns. Salesmen try to extract as much money as possible from you so without a ceiling price it’s a slippery slope and who knows how much you will overpay.

Overpaying sours our purchase and takes away from it. We definitely don’t want that. That’s why sticking to a plan is so important.

Do Enjoy

In all, purchasing a car should be a fun and rewarding experience. Just don’t forget the two key points; research + planning and everything should work out (hopefully).

Keep it simple. Instead of thinking about what you should do, just think about what things not to do when buying a car!

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