Top 4 Errors You Should Avoid When Purchasing a Vehicle – Old or New


When we decide that it’s time to buy a vehicle – whether it’s your first purchase or you’re looking to replace your old clunker – we often have a good idea of what model to buy or what to go for when it comes to the car’s features. And everyone knows how challenging it is to buy a vehicle, especially since they’re all over the place – there are so many makes and models (especially if you buy used) that it makes it even harder to decide what to buy! And along with this, today’s car buyer also makes some crucial mistakes! You may not be aware of it, but you may make the same mistakes. But what are these errors, and how can we avoid them? Here are the top errors you should avoid when purchasing a vehicle – old or new.

1. We don’t think about the actual costs of car ownership

Let’s admit one thing – when we have decided to buy anything, most of all a car, we can already imagine ourselves as car owners, all set to drive the perfect vehicle! But the ‘practical’ you are saying hold up. Are you sure it’s a good deal, and can you rely on your purchase? And then you can tell yourself that you will keep the car for over ten years to justify its depreciation. But this estimate is often too optimistic, and the average length of vehicle ownership is about five years – so remember this when you say you’ll keep a car for ten years.

You may also want to be realistic about other things that have to do with ownership – expenses like insurance, maintenance, taxes, and more. Of course, you have to be as realistic as possible with the actual costs of car ownership, so you won’t be disappointed later on, as car experts like point out.

2. Our focus is too much on price rather than other factors


Yes, there’s no denying that the price of the car is essential – especially since you don’t want to get ripped off. But there’s more to buying a car than its price because the price is just a single element. For instance, do you think you got a good deal, considering the make, model, and year? How about the car’s condition and mileage if you buy used? What’s more crucial than price is if you are getting the vehicle that’s ideal for your requirements – and if you are, is it worth it?

In a line of cars and other vehicles that offer identical or similar features, we want to know that what we got was of equal pricing – or at least similar pricing. We can easily find out about the price at Edmunds, for example. But since we have to factor in issues such as condition and mileage, no two vehicles are alike, making the game of getting a good value for money purchase much harder.

Not only is it essential to get a car that’s right for your requirements – you have to figure out if it’s a car you can afford – especially if you’re going for financing, which would have more add-ons. Is it also better to opt for a used car or a new model? For most people, it is less expensive should you go for a used vehicle, and it’s a better deal overall to go for used rather than brand new. But if you are the kind of person who must buy brand new by hook or by crook, by all means, go for it! Nothing is stopping you from doing what you want with your car purchase – just as long as you know what’s what and are prepared for the cost (and the cost of ownership).

3. We tend not to think about the financing

And here’s another thing we neglect to consider – the terms that come with the financing. Unless you are paying for the car with cash, which those who are rich and lucky enough should do, most of us will have to go for financing – and this is where it gets tricky when we don’t think about the terms.

Just imagine this – you fight for hours on end to get that $500 discount when you finance the vehicle at 6 percent for no deposit for four years, which will end up costing you over 2k. Which makes more sense – the $500 you saved or the 2k you have to pay each month for the car for four years? Many people have some common regrets – some say that they regret not coming up with a stronger down payment, while others regret not shopping around more for better rates on their loan.

If you choose the wrong financing or loan, it will cost more in the long term than whatever savings you get from the negotiation. Needless to say, unless you have a loan with 0 percent rates, it’s best to pay cash for your car. But if you have to take out a loan, be careful and conservative – get the best rates and stick to loans that are no more than 36 months. And last but not least, try to pay a down payment of at least 20 percent.

4. We have standards and expectations that are too high


The very first mistake of car buyers is this: we have standards and expectations that are often too high. What do we mean by this? Well, it’s all to do with too many choices. When our options are too many, we get anxious and depressed about choosing perfectly, and our expectations are too high. So it goes not just for buying a car, but for buying virtually anything these days. But going back to buying a car – since it’s not inexpensive to buy one, we look for the perfect deal and bargain – and there is always a sneaking suspicion that we didn’t get a good deal or the perfect one.

The fact is, you have to do your homework correctly and educate yourself about the costs of car ownership – and you can avoid costly mistakes and get a good car at a great price.