The most common mistakes car buyers can make

“OOPS, I bought the wrong car!” Is that you? If it is, don’t feel bad. Purchasing an unsuitable vehicle is something people the world-over do every day. But why? Well, the reasons are many. But the most common cause of buying a car in haste is when the purchaser simply falls head over heels and experiences that love at first sight moment!

New car wheel

And who could blame them? Some of the cars available to buy these days are drop-dead gorgeous, and don’t always come with an eye-watering price tag. That makes them hard to resist, impossible to walk away from, in fact, in many cases.

But then… the feeling of having parted with a bundle of cash on a ‘”gotta have it!” car, only to quickly discover that it is wholly unsuitable, can be terrible, and often downright embarrassing. And, if the seller or dealer refuses to take the car back and refund you – or offer you something else instead to the value of the car you’ve just bought, or in part exchange – then you could be stuck with the wrong car that is actually depreciating in value every minute that you mull over what on earth to do!

Jeannette’s story

I actually went deeply into debt to buy a car I came across at a local dealers one Friday afternoon last year,” explains Jeannette in Salisbury, Wiltshire. “I had time to kill before a water colour painting class in town, and ended up test driving what I was certain represented the car of my dreams. Soon, it was mine. Within a fortnight, I realised that it just wasn’t the right car at all. I felt such a fool.

So, what was Jeanette’s mistake? Yes, that’s right. She was guilty of being hasty.

From car finance to the test drive – do your research!

Is buying in haste the most common mistake people make when purchasing a new car? No, actually.

Here’s the ‘top ten’, folks:

ONE: Not being clear on finances. Before even thinking of test driving a car, or even taking a closer look at it at a dealership, know your budget and know how you’re going to pay (including finding the right car finance deal and how it works). Take the time to get a pad, pen and calculator out before starting your search.

TWO: Not choosing a car that suits their needs. Of course, it is entirely understandable that, after unexpectedly coming across a gorgeous motor, you can barely tear your eyes away from it. You may even start to development a kind of emotional attachment. But sensible car buyers purchase with their heads not their hearts. Be tough with yourself. If you’re in any doubt at all that the car you are so besotted with is the right one, walk away.

THREE: Not doing their homework. Even an hour’s research online is better than none at all. But so many car buyers make the mistake of leaving all the boring technical stuff to the car salespeople. Better to do your own research at home, or at lunchtime in the office, to find out essential information about the particular car you are interested in: its good points and the potential pitfalls of opting for it when you finally make it to the dealership, armed with the right knowledge.

FOUR: Rushing the test drive. By that, we don’t mean tearing around the streets Formula 1-style. We mean taking the car for a proper drive, to really get a clear idea on how it performs and if it’s the right vehicle for you.

FIVE: Not taking it for a test drive at all! Yes, really. Caught up in the excitement of coming across “OMG, the perfect car!”, plenty of car buyers mistakenly don’t bother with a test drive, only to discover, once they’ve signed contracts and parted with their hard-earned cash, that they’ve been far too eager about it all. Oh dear. Don’t do that.

SIX: Dismissing the idea of buying a used car, without looking at options. It’s true. So many car buyers pay a small fortune for a brand new car when they could have bought something just as good, second-hand, at a fraction of the cost. What a shame.

SEVEN: Forgetting the rental option. If you’ve sold your car, or are just about to, and are not entirely sure which car to replace it with and whether to buy old or new, why not consider renting a vehicle in the interim period? If more motorists did that, there would be far fewer rushed (i.e. wrong) car purchases made throughout the UK each year, without a doubt. Renting temporarily is a cost-effective approach worth considering. While you’re renting, you can be looking – and arming yourself with all the knowledge you need to make a good decision – including even having your car finance in place if that’s what you need.

EIGHT: Going over budget. Yes, it may seem somewhat surprising to see this one so far down the ‘car buying mistakes top ten’ list, but nevertheless it still commonly occurs. Spending too much usually happens when an experienced dealership salesperson senses a weakness in a potential buyer, and convinces them to spend a little extra, or “this car of your dreams might not be here tomorrow, or even later on today, mate.”

NINE: Agreeing to financing offered by the dealership without doing your research first.  By all means, look at the financing offered by the dealership but check them out first. Go with a dealership specialising in car finance solutions for all circumstances so you get exactly the right finance for you (including for example, if you need finance but have a poor credit rating). Better to shop around first, before even setting foot on the dealership forecourt. Go there armed with the knowledge you need, and don’t be pressurised into signing up to any other finance deal once you’re there, unless you’re 100 per cent happy with the offer. Stick to your guns, and have the strength of mind to walk away from the ideal car for you, if the finance side of things all becomes messy and not what you want or planned on.

TEN: Buying a car privately, without first checking if there’s finance owing on it by the previous owner. This can be a nightmare, for obvious reasons. To avoid being conned, carry out a thorough car history check before even contemplating parting with your cash.

For more info on how to avoid buying a car with outstanding finance, go here.

Finally, for a vehicle-finance solution you can 100 per cent trust, get in touch!