3 Mistakes to Avoid When Shopping for a New Car

2 min to read

When it comes to purchasing a new car, it can be overwhelming. You don’t want to shop unprepared and be an easy target for getting overcharged. Protect yourself and your wallet by doing your homework. Here are 3 mistakes to avoid when shopping for a new car.

1. Failing to shop around.

Like any big purchase, you want to compare prices and quality first. Get a feel for how much the car you want costs. Prior to shopping, check out websites like the National Automobile Dealers Association. There you can enter your zip code to scout out new car pricing in your local area. You can then click on different models you’re interested in buying by selecting the year and body style. It’s a useful way to gauge base pricing and estimate how much more you would pay when adding other features like seat trim, additional equipment or port installed options. You can get an idea of the cost of extra items and decide if something like rear wing spoilers or wheelocks are in the budget before even leaving your home.

2. Not knowing what you can afford.

If you plan on financing your car with a loan, walking into a dealership without knowing what interest rate you qualify for can be a big no no. You won’t have any leverage in your negotiations if you don’t even know where you stand. Also, if you opt to pay in cash, you could possibly get a cheaper price and have more bargaining power in the process. According to Bankrate.com, you also want to include the taxes, title, insurance and other fees associated with buying a car.

3. Being too eager.

I practically grew up in car dealerships. My mother worked in accounting for several dealerships throughout her career and I spent a great deal of time there as a kid. I was exposed to the nature of the business. One thing you want to avoid is being overly eager. You become easy prey for salespeople by showing your hand too soon. Try to hide your enthusiasm for how much you love the latest car. You don’t want to reveal too much interest or emotion. Also, make it seem as if you could wait for the right deal. Patience is a good bargaining chip to bring to the table.  If they have too much access to knowing how pressed you are to get the car, they can use that against you and  take away some of your negotiating power.

Whether you’re heading to a dealership or purchasing your car online, going in knowledgeable after doing your homework can help you avoid paying more then you have to. A little bit of research can translate to big savings. Use the tips mentioned above to go in as an informed customer and get the price you deserve.


Karen Cordaway is a part-time teacher by day and freelance writer by night. She’s a recovering shopaholic who spent years wasting money until she learned how to stop by reading personal finance books. In her spare time, Karen enjoys trips to NYC, photography, authentic Mexican food and believes chocolate is a food group. You can also find her writing on MoneySavingEnthusiast.com