Top 10 Mistakes

1. The impulse buy:

You walked into a showroom, got caught up in the emotion of the moment and walked out with a new car and no idea really how it happened. Don’t let this happen to you. I guarantee you this mistake will cost you a nice chunk of change. Do, your research, get your quotes from Edmunds, Cars.com, Yahoo Autos and Invoice Dealers, get your financing lined up before you go in.

2. Not checking the cost to insure the new car before buying

Insurance cost can vary quite a bit from one car to another. You would expect a Corvette to cost more than an Accord to insure but some times even similar vehicles have significantly different premiums. Check with your insurance company to see what the new car will cost you and while you’re at it you should get some competing insurance quotes from Geico, Progressive direct, Liberty Mutual and insurance.com

3. Falling for the bait and switch:

You see a good price advertised in the newspaper but when you get to the dealership they point to the fine print in the ad, sadly shake their heads and say “That one car was sold already.” Luckily for them they just happen to have a similar or identical car they’ll sell you for a higher price Once again, get your quotes ahead of time, shop dealers against each other and this won’t happen to you.

4. Buying the wrong car

Make sure you think about the ways you’ll be using the car, how far you’ll drive on a regular basis etc. before deciding on what you’re buying. We highly recommend you read the Vehicle Selection of our guide if you have not already.

5. Going to only one dealer

Of course they’re going to tell you that their prices are the best around! That doesn’t mean you have to believe them. Get quotes from Edmunds, Cars.com, Yahoo auto’s and Invoice dealers to shop multiple dealers in your area without doing all the driving around. Don’t be afraid to request quotes a little out of your area. A little driving on one day could save you a lot. It doesn’t matter where you buy the car if you need warranty work, any dealership has to honor the warranty.

6. Looking at the payment instead of the price

One of the most common tactics dealers use in negotiation is wanting you to agree to a monthly payment rather than a purchase price for the car. This allows them far more ways to obscure just how much the deal is costing you. Negotiate the price of the car, you can figure out what the payment for that price will be yourself using our car payment calculator in the left column of this site.

7. Talking about your trade-in too early

You want the negotiation of the price of the new car to be separate from any discussion of what they’ll give you for your old car. If you don’t keep these separate it makes the whole process more confusing for you and easier for the dealer to take money out of your pocket.

8. Not going for a real test drive or skipping it entirely

Many people feel uncomfortable driving with a salesman in the car with you so they want to make the test drive short or even skip it entirely. This is a terrible mistake. You need to know if you’re really happy with how the car feels on the road and in the kind of driving you’re likely to do or you may well be very unhappy with it.

9. Buying overpriced add-ons in the financing office

Pretty much everything they will try and sell you in the finance or managers office is either uncessessary or overpriced. You can buy paint protection, extended warranties, VIN etching etc. on your own after you buy the car at a significant savings over what the dealer will charge you.

10. Talking too much

Don’t offer information or answer questions about how badly you need a new car, how much you really like the car you’re looking at, what you’re willing to pay per month while you’re in the dealership. These are all things they will use against you in negotiation or to pressure you to buy on the spot.