Car buying mistakes

So it’s finally time to trade in your old clunker. This is an exciting time to get a great car that suits all of your needs. But before you buy the first shiny model that crosses your path, here are some common car buying mistakes to avoid.

Making up your mind before you do your research
Have you seen the SUV of your dreams charging around town? Or have you been lusting after the sports car that zooms through your neighborhood? When you need a new car, it can be easy to fall for a vehicle based on looks alone. But falling head over wheels for a car when you haven’t done any research can be a costly mistake. Take the time to read online reviews by experts in the automotive field and by consumers like you so you know how a car ranks in owner satisfaction and driving tests. You will also need to research safety ratings and maintenance so that you know which car is right for both your transportation needs and your wallet.

Skipping the test drive
Have you ever bought a pair of shoes without trying them on? They may look great, but you won’t know if they give you blisters until you get home. Buying a car without first taking a test drive can have the same uncomfortable consequences. It is critical to take a test drive and see how a car handles in different driving conditions. You’ll want to check out how it drives in both city and highway traffic. And if you have time to take multiple test drives, you might also want to check out how well you manage the car in different weather conditions so that you can determine if you are comfortable with braking, accelerating and switching lanes in rain, shine or snow. The test drive is also a good time to check out all of the car’s bells and whistles, like the sunroof, cruise control and automatic locks, so be sure to do a thorough inspection before you sign on the dotted line.

Letting a lender lure you
Do you know how lenders make money on loans? Interest, closing costs and other fees. For that reason, it is important that you shop around for the right lender in the same way that you shop around for the perfect car. Although it may be convenient, you don’t have to finance your car loan through the dealership. In fact, it is a good idea to compare interest rates and offers from a variety of lenders. When you request an auto loan online with LendingTree, you will be able to compare offers from up to five different lenders and choose the deal that works best for you. Also, remember that just because a lender may approve you for a certain amount, it doesn't necessarily mean that you should spend that much.You need to be able to fit your monthly loan payment comfortably into the budget that you have created for yourself.

Buying the wrong car for your lifestyle
The car of your dreams may not be the right vehicle for your current lifestyle. If you have carpool duty, that two-door sports car is probably not the right way to go. Or if you are barely making ends meet, that gas-guzzling SUV may leave your wallet on E. Think about your transportation needs and find the car that best matches them. Consider safety, maintenance and repairs, fuel efficiency, size and extras so that you get the car that best suits your lifestyle and your budget.

Accepting the first offer
Negotiating the price of your vehicle is one of the most important steps in the car buying process. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the most nerve wracking steps. When buying a new car, look at the invoice price — not the sticker price — and use that as leverage for negotiating with the dealership. When buying a used car, research local inventory online so that you can determine a fair price for the vehicle you want. Regardless of whether you are buying new or used, remember the first number that the salesperson gives you is probably not the best the dealership can do, so hold your ground until you reach an agreement that you feel is fair.

Now that you know everything you shouldn’t do on the car lot, check out our seven steps to buying a car.

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