“Why is buying a new car so complicated?”
It’s a common complaint among car shoppers, and we bet you’ve thought that same thought at some point. If you’ve ever had anxiety about purchasing a vehicle or felt sick to your stomach after signing auto lease or car loan paperwork, you’re not alone. Millions of shoppers every year struggle to make good decisions at the dealership, only to drive off the lot while pondering hypotheticals like, “what if I’d done this?” or “could I have gotten a better deal?” or “should I have leased?”
Yes, buying a new car may be a big, scary adventure, but keep your chin up. Just avoid making the common mistakes other shoppers fall victim to!
Easier said than done, right? Here are 12 of the worst mistakes people make at the dealership – don’t do these, and you’ll be looking at a hypothetical-less existence with your nice, new ride.
Saying “No” to Test Drives
Did you know that 12% of car shoppers, the majority of whom are younger than 35, choose a vehicle without taking that model for a test drive? Talk about insanity!
Even with the rise of online car-buying, test drives should be mandatory for anyone looking to spend thousands on a new vehicle. How else are you supposed to test out the audio system, acceleration, safety features, seat comfort, rear liftgate, technology – you know, all the things you need and use? Insist on test driving any vehicle you plan on purchasing, no ifs, ands, or buts.
Accepting Less Money for a Trade-In
Do you know what your car’s trade-in value is? If you plan on selling your vehicle to your dealer, understanding that vehicle’s market value is imperative.
It’s best to request several trade-in estimates from all the dealerships in your area. This allows you to separate the honest from the dishonest dealers, as well as get a good expectation of what your vehicle is worth when the time comes to upgrade. It could save you thousands on a down payment!
(Biased recommendation: To get your car trade-in value in Kansas City, start right here at McCarthy-Morse Chevy.)
Ignoring Your Budget
That fancy new Chevy Camaro is calling your name – or is it just a Siren Song? (That’s a reference to The Odyssey, by the way.) It’s important to go into the shopping experience understanding how far your budget will go. Don’t even attempt to look at vehicles outside of your budget, lest you want to be tempted beyond measure.
Not Getting Pre-Approved for Auto Financing
Similarly, you should understand how your credit history will affect your ability to buy a car. Once you figure out your budget, fill out a car financing application either online or by visiting your dealership’s financing department. Getting approved for an auto loan before you head into the dealership is ideal, but your dealer can also help you get the best terms in person – especially if they’re an honest car dealer.
Being Pressured to Buy NOW
We understand why 69% of car shoppers today hate going to a dealership. Traditionally, dealers and salespeople have been viewed as pushy, aggressive, and sometimes downright rude, pressuring shoppers to buy, buy, buy.
Don’t fall for it! Take your time; purchasing a vehicle is a big deal, not something to take for granted or do on a whim. If you feel pressured by your salesperson, ask to speak with another person at your dealership or simply walk away. There are plenty of car dealerships near you that practice modern sales tactics – and by tactics we mean “treating people like people.”
Take our Overland Park Chevy dealership, for instance. At McCarthy-Morse, our staff wakes up each morning happy to assist customers, not just make commissions. Read our online reviews to see how we operate.
Being Too Nervous to Negotiate
Like No. 8 above, the No. 7 biggest mistake shoppers make when purchasing a car is related to dealer-shopper interaction: Refusing to negotiate a price. Nervousness, anxiety, and fear shouldn’t be a reason to spend more on your vehicle.
Not Reviewing the Pros and Cons of Leasing vs. Buying
Do you know if you’re better off buying or leasing a new SUV, car, or truck? Review the pros and cons of each to see which option best aligns with your budget, driving habits, and personality. Buying a car outright may be the best option for Jack, but leasing is best for Jill; don’t assume you’re Jack or Jill before understanding the advantages and disadvantages of both.
Forgetting to Track Monthly Offers and Incentives
Manufacturer incentives and dealer-exclusive car specials change frequently, sometimes even every month. For instance, your dealer may have a cheap Chevy Cruze lease deal in June, then switch things up with a new Chevy Trax finance special in July. The only way to get the best deal on a new car is to track your dealer’s offers regularly and over the course of several months. (Consider this part of your research phase.)
Not Searching for Alternative Auto Financing Options
The first auto loan terms offered to you may not be the best auto loan terms. Although dealership financing departments are usually the top option, it’s a smart idea to search for lower interest rates from other lenders, like your bank, a local credit union, and online establishments. And if they can’t offer you a lower APR loan for a car, at least you know the dealership’s financing is on the table, so to speak.
Buying During the Wrong Season
You may need a car in January, but sometimes it’s in your best interest to wait until the end of the quarter to get a better deal on a vehicle. Why? Dealers tend to cut prices down to meet their quarterly sales targets, allowing shoppers to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars. March, June, September, and December are the months in which most shoppers can take advantage of year-low pricing on models.
Also, pay attention to upcoming all-new, redesigned models. Before that model arrives at the dealership, you may find discounts on the previous model year.
Not Researching Vehicles Thoroughly
Three in five shoppers conduct research online, oftentimes spending over 10 hours doing so, before purchasing a vehicle. Two in five shoppers go into the shopping experience blind; don’t be like those people. Instead, before you even select a car dealership near you, explore the world wide web. There’s a ton of info out there to help you on your search.
Get to know what the best models are in each respective segment. If you’re looking for a good crossover in Kansas City, browse small, mid-size, and full-size SUV rankings online. For example, some of the better new Chevy SUV models include the Equinox and all-new Blazer. Need a great pickup truck? Read truck reviews on best-selling models like the Chevy Silverado 1500. Want an affordable, eco-friendly car? Take a look at what critics say about the Chevrolet Cruze or one of Chevy’s hybrid cars.
When you’ve decided on a short list of vehicles to test drive, then you can begin researching dealerships.
Shopping at Just One Dealership
A staggering 27% of shoppers in 2018 bought a car at the very first dealership they visited, up from 22% the previous year. Unless you’re a returning customer, you should branch out and look at other car dealerships near you. Change can be good for the soul – and your pockets.
Looking to shop around in Kansas City? Find your way to McCarthy-Morse Chevrolet, your trusted Overland Park Chevy dealer. We make it easy to search, shop, and save thousands on any vehicle, new or used, big or small. Contact us directly at 913-649-6000 to schedule a test drive and go over your financing or leasing opportunities.