What Not to Do When Buying a Car

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Modern-day car buying has evolved to offer more convenience through online shopping and gimmicks like auto vending machines. However, this increased accessibility can sometimes be a double-edged sword. 

Many people often find themselves with car buyer’s remorse due to hasty decisions or overlooked details. The good news is that it’s possible to avoid these pitfalls through careful research and thoughtful decision-making.

Read on to learn how to avoid common mistakes when buying a vehicle in the Greater Richmond (VA) area.

Car Buying Mistakes

Awareness of the many car-buying stumbling blocks will help save money and ensure you walk away a happy customer. Let’s take a look at what not to do when buying a car.

Skipping the Research

While it may be tempting to skip doing research, the time you put in will likely pay off in the end. For some, researching is the most important place to start when it comes to shopping for a car. Remember, you don’t need to buy the first one you see and it’s good to check out different dealerships for the best deals.

Are you looking to trade in your current vehicle? This step means finding out how much your current auto and the one you want to buy are worth. A couple of great resources for this are TrueCar and Edmunds.

Financing Through the Dealership

You DO NOT have to go with dealership financing. Checking with your credit union first could save you hundreds, possibly thousands, of dollars through the life of your loan. Call Federal will help you work through the numbers so you know how much you can afford to spend and also assist with credit issues beforehand to ensure you get the best rate and deal. 

Knowing your potential monthly payments and interest rates in advance can help you confidently negotiate prices at your local Richmond (VA) car dealership.

Failing to Calculate the Total Cost

So you scored your dream car in your price range and are ready to make the purchase. Before signing any paperwork, look at all the costs added to the sale. A successful purchase goes beyond the window sticker price. Tax, extended warranty, GAP insurance, and much more can add significant costs to your total purchase price.

Plus, you still have to factor in insurance every year. You can ask your credit union for help with most of these services. They often offer similar products but at a much lower cost. Regardless, talking to an insurance agent to see how a new vehicle will affect your premium is always a good idea.

Checking the Fine Print on the “Deal”

If it seems too good to be true, it usually is. While 0% financing sounds excellent, there are often non-negotiable and unattractive stipulations to get that kind of deal. It’s important to review all terms carefully and ask questions if anything is unclear. By understanding the fine print, you can avoid hidden traps and ensure the deal aligns with your financial situation.

Not Taking a Test Drive

For many of us, test driving is the best part of shopping because you get to experience the car firsthand. If you skip this step and don’t take it for a spin, you won’t be aware of any negative features in advance. Plus, test driving will allow you to evaluate comfort, handling, and features before you make a purchase.

Many new and used car dealers in the Greater Richmond (VA) area offer home or virtual test drives. It’s an excellent chance to see if the model you like feels right for you. 

Emotional Buying

It’s okay to have favorite auto brands. However, remember that things can change a lot from one year to another. Keep your emotions in check and consider all options within your budget, including brands you have yet to consider.

What to Know Before You Go

Before visiting a dealership or buying online, you should thoroughly research the make and model you’re interested in. You’ll need to know the average price of the car, features, and reliability ratings. This knowledge will help you make a more informed decision and potentially avoid “problem year” models.

If you’re considering buying a car online, you can easily compare prices across multiple websites. Consider reading customer reviews and using a car loan calculator to learn how much you can afford. Remember, a good deal isn’t just about the price. It’s about finding a reliable vehicle that will suit your needs for years to come.

Knowledge is power when it comes to shopping, selecting, and financing a new car. With the proper preparation, car buying can be a joy and not a chore. When you finance through a credit union, you’ve got someone in your corner. 

You can expect to enjoy better, more affordable rates. As member-owned nonprofits, credit unions pass along their profits to their members through competitive interest rates.

Not only that, but you’re not a number—you’re a member! That means we work with you as an individual. We’ll look at all your circumstances to help you reach your personal and financial goals. 

We can help improve your financial wellness through financial coaching with a Call Federal Financial Counselor. Credit issues? You can build a credit history with a Call Federal Visa Platinum or Visa Platinum Secured Card.

Call Federal Makes Car Buying Easier

When it comes to car buying, Call Federal makes the car buying experience as seamless as possible. With our Check-in-Hand pre-approval, you can compare and shop online from the comfort of your home. You’ll only need to visit the dealer for a test drive and to hand over your payment.

Ready to get behind the wheel of your new car? Click below to see our attractive vehicle loan options and the benefits you’ll get from financing with Call Federal.

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