5 Major Mistakes People Make When Buying a New Car


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From Test Drive to Trouble

Successfully buying a new car requires a proper game plan. You’ve got to account for all the crucial steps, like taking it for a test drive or mapping out your finances to ensure that the purchase is actually within your budget. 

The reality is that many of us end up making major mistakes when we purchase a new car — mistakes that could've been avoided with a little more strategy and caution. Here are some of the biggest errors people often make with their swanky new purchase.

Businessman is giving the keys to a female customer,both smiling at each other,woman with standing in the front,indoors at a car dealership in the evening

1. Banking on Monthly Payments To Keep Your Finances in Check

It’s not uncommon for any tactical car salesperson to hype up a monthly payment plan with a longer loan repayment period. This lengthened repayment period translates to smaller monthly payments, but you’ll also end up owing much more in interest over the long run. 

Not only that, but you’ll want to read the fine print on the payment plan’s terms and conditions if you take that route. Specifically, ensure that you won’t end up dealing with a scenario where the repayment amount could be raised after a designated period of time.

New tire and rim

2. Purchasing All the Extras

Dealerships will try to persuade you to purchase any and all extras on your new vehicle; this helps them increase their profit margins. Unfortunately for you, you can end up spending money on accessories that hardly make a difference. Make sure that you inspect your final receipt to ensure that none of those accessories mistakenly snuck their way onto the total purchase price.

Saleswoman working at a dealership showing a car to a couple

3. Forgoing a Test Drive

As many as one in six new car buyers skip the test drive. I mean, how? Isn’t that one of the best parts about the whole experience? Being able to excitedly cruise around the lot or nearby streets to gain a full appreciation for the new vehicle that’s about to be yours? 

You’ll want to spend at least 30 minutes on your test drive before you purchase your new car to make sure that it satisfies what you're looking for. Sometimes looks can be deceiving, and you don’t want to fall for a car that looks great but doesn't offer a smooth ride.

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Saleswoman and a female customer in a car dealership

4. Overlooking the Car’s Depreciation Rate

A car's depreciation rate refers to how much value a new car can lose over time. To put that in perspective, your new car can stand to lose as much as 20-25% over the first year of owning it. If you took out any kind of loan to acquire the car in the first place, that depreciation rate takes on a whole new level of importance.

Related: Warning Signs You Need a New Car

Dealer salesman giving car key to owner. client signing insurance document or rental car lease form agreement contract Insurance car concept.
David Gyung/istockphoto

5. Being Rude to a Car Salesperson

Just don’t do it. If you’re having one of those days where you can’t be kind, save your field trip to the auto dealership for another time. Ideally, you want to work with, not against, the salesperson who is helping you out to score the best possible deal. 

Just a little bit of patience and kindness can go a long way in opening the door to a conversation that might leave you driving your new car out of the lot with a bit more money in your bank account.

Related: 10 Things You Should Never Say at a Car Dealership