Common Car Buying Mistakes To Avoid

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It’s safe to say that modern day car shopping has evolved to be more convenient to buyers. As online dealerships and gimmicks like car vending machines gain popularity and attention, shoppers may feel the urge to purchase before they are truly ready. Before you get caught up in the glitz and glimmer of latest trends in car buying, let’s review some common behaviors you should avoid when it comes to shopping for and purchasing your next vehicle.

Pay close attention to this list of what NOT to do and you’ll be ahead of the game for every step of the car buying process.

1. Bypassing the Research

For some, researching is the most important place to start in the car buying process. Remember, you don’t have to buy the first car you set your eyes on and it’s definitely worth looking into different dealerships for the best deals. Looking to trade-in your current car? This step also includes doing your homework to get a feel for how much your current car is worth along with  the market value of the vehicle you’re looking to purchase. A couple great resources for this are TrueCar and

2. Dealer Financing

You do not—I repeat, DO NOT—have to go with dealership financing. Checking with your financial institution first could save you hundreds, possibly thousands, of dollars through the life of your car loan. And by checking with your local financial intuition, like Call Federal can help you take some of the guess work out of what your loan will look like before you even head to the nearest lot.

Another advantage of a pre-approval from your financial institution is that they can help work through the numbers so you know how much you can actually afford to spend for a new vehicle as well as help with any credit issues beforehand to ensure you are getting the best rate and deal. With an idea of what the monthly payments and interest rate will be on your auto loan, you can go into your local dealer empowered to approach the car buying experience with confidence.

3. Failing to Calculate the Total Cost

So you scored your dream car in your price range, and you’re ready to make the purchase. Before you sign any paperwork be sure you take a good look at all the costs added to the sale. Purchasing a car goes beyond the sticker price. Tax, extended warranty, GAP, and much more can add significant costs to your total purchase price.

Plus, you still need to factor in insurance every year. You can do a quick check on most of these with your financial institution, which can save hundreds since they usually offer the same products as the dealerships but at a significantly lower price. Regardless, talking to an insurance agent to see how a new vehicle will affect your premium is never a bad idea.

4 .Checking the Fine Print on the “Deal”

If it seems too good to be true upfront, it usually is. Sure, 0% financing sounds great, but there are usually non-negotiable stipulations in order to get that deal that may not fit your needs.

5. Skipping the test drive

For some of us, test driving is the best part about car shopping. But for others, skipping this step can put you in a pinch down the road. Test driving allows you to really get a feel for a car before you buy and navigate different aspects of your ride. And because many dealerships have little to no window for returns, it’s vital you take the time to test drive before you make your purchase.

6. Buying with your emotions

We all have brands we are loyal to—there is nothing wrong with that—but vehicle models can change significantly from one year to the next. What worked a few years ago may not be a good fit now. Make sure to take your emotions out of your purchase and look around at all options in your price range, including brands you had never considered.

LEARN MORE: The Pros and Cons of Refinancing a Car

What To Know Before You Go

Everyone who is buying a car wants a good deal, but you don’t have to be intimidated or rushed to buy by the process. Knowledge is definitely power when it comes to shopping, selecting, and financing a new car. With the right preparation, car buying can actually be a joy and not a chore.

You don’t have to go it alone.

Here’s the good news – when you finance through a credit union like Call Federal, you’ve got someone in your corner. As not-for-profit financial collectives, credit unions pass along their earnings to their members through competitive interest rates. Plus, since you’re an owner, not a profit center, you can expect highly personalized service that puts you first.

When it comes to car buying, Call Federal makes the process as seamless as possible. From our Check-in-Hand pre-approvals to online resources like those mentioned above, you can shop from the comfort of your own home and only show up on the dealer lot for a quick test drive and to hand over the check for your new car.

When you’re ready to get started on your car buying journey, Call Federal is here to help! Visit any of our convenient branch locations, call us at 804-274-1200, or apply online today.

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