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The 5 Most Common Car Buying Mistakes

The 5 Most Common Car Buying Mistakes

Buying a car, whether new or used, can be challenging at times. It's a complex process and many times people will end up making many mistakes that turn their anticipation into a buyer's remorse. 

The error could be either charging more than the actual value of the car, getting a car that is a lemon, or maybe a factory defective situation. Below are the top five mistakes that car buyers frequently make, that turn their anticipation into a buyer's remorse and explain to you how to stop them.


Starting to shop before checking your credit score

While it may look like that there's no harm in shopping for a car, that is until you see how your credit score is doing, is most likely one of the biggest mistakes people make. Your credit score will have an effect on the acceptance of your auto loan and also on the rates and terms you receive when financing your car.

If you have a relatively low credit score, you may even end up paying higher loan rates than you would normally get approved for.

So, it's always best to check your credit score frequently before you start shopping for your dream car. In this way, you already know what your credit score is, and if you need it, you can take some time to make the improvements to get the car you want. 

The better the score, the lower the rates on your loan.

You can check your credit score on and for a free basic credit report.


Skipping the test drive


Test drives are an important part of the car buying process and are often overlooked. A vehicle may look good in an image but it’s the test drive that tells you what the car is capable of. Some people may just totally forget about test driving the car, some may be in a hurry to buy the car, while some give in to the buyer’s “no test drive policy” that often is not true.

Yes, some dealers have that kind of “out of this world” policies regarding test drives or at least they provide is a “token test”.

Try to ask them for a complete test-drive that allows you to feel all the features to see if the car is right for you. This is the best way you can know if the vehicle performs up to your expectations before taking it home. We also would advise performing a full walk-around of the vehicle you're considering to purchase.

If the dealer just doesn’t allow that, consider it a red flag and find another dealer that suits your needs.

Not researching online

Not doing your research before buying a car is another common mistake many people make. It isn’t as hard as it may seem to a few people, all you have to do is a simple Google search. There are tons of free information available about almost every make and model on car research sites like Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book.

You can get every bit of information from engine lineup to the trim levels to even the fair market value of a car from platforms that provide a review and all information you may need.

That’s why it’s best to do a bit of online research first before you start shopping. This way you’ll have a better idea of what features and specifications you should look for, which car is right for you, and what price is fair for the car of your liking.

Once you’re done with the online research, you can head over to the dealership of your choice and select the car. However, you’re not yet done with your research as the history of the car you want is available for you to see. The next significant step is to check the vehicle history reports for all providers. For this, you need to get the VIN of the vehicle on sites like AutoCheck, autoDNA, Carfax, and many others. It’s important to check a vehicle’s history even if it’s the new car because many times new cars affected by floods or hurricanes end up on the market, thanks to some careless and suspicious dealers.


Thinking in monthly payments instead of the total price

Many people think in terms of what they’re willing to pay each month rather than the whole price of the car. Although it may look more affordable and cheaper, it’s confusing and very misleading for the buyer. This is generally the case with longer terms agreements because the monthly payments become smaller due to the longer-term period set by you and the dealer.

However, you also end up paying more money in interest due to the long finance agreement. It also puts you upside down on the loan for longer than you may have expected. Therefore, it’s best to think in terms of the total price of the car that you would be willing to pay rather than the total monthly payments you see advertised. This way you should be able to strike out a loan term and monthly payment amount that’s best for your needs.


Underestimating the value of modern safety features


Today, automotive companies manufacture their vehicles with an array of modern safety features in compliance with U.S safety regulations. Features like anti-lock brake systems (ABS), electronic stability control (ESC), head-protecting side airbags are some of the best safety features available and are worth the additional price. Each automotive manufacturer boasts about its top safety system and features available for all their models. That’s why it can sometimes be ambiguous for a car buyer as to which one's are the best.

Although the dealership salesman may not give you the information on these features, you should always do your research. It helps you to know which features are best according to your requirements and that you get the best features to protect you and your family from the road.

These are the top 5 car buying mistakes every car buyer commonly makes. Try your best to avoid committing these mistakes by following the recommendations given on what you can do to prepare for your next car. If you follow the recommendations, you’re very likely to avoid buyer's remorse that takes all the effort into choosing your vehicle. If you need any other information or have any opinion, do let us know in the comment section below.

If you are in the Fresno and surrounding areas, stop by Madera Auto Plaza to come to view our inventory of used vehicles to see which one is best for you. 

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Phone: (559) 206-2554 S Gateway Dr, Madera, CA 93637, United States
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