Common Errors People Make When Buying a Car

by : Ray Paulsen



listed are the 10 most common errors consumers make buying a vehicle. Any one of these mistakes could cost you thousand of dollars or have a lemon parked in your driveway.

Be honest with yourself, how many of these steps did you cover buying your last vehicle, I don't expect anybody to be an expert overnight, but when your ready to purchase another vehicle study the answers I have provided.

# 1...Shopping for monthly payments only

# 2...Saying..."I'm paying cash, what's your best price?"

# 3...Not testing vehicle performance properly

# 4...Total trust in dealership and salesperson

# 5...Not getting full history of car

# 6...Getting sucked into after market products

# 7...Advertisements that guarantee top dollars for trade

# 8...Not negotiating scratches - dents - manual - extra keys.

# 9...Not shopping more than one dealership

# 10...Letting emotions rule your brain

# 1...Shopping monthly payments only

One of the first questions a salesperson will ask is "Are you financing?" If you answer yes then you are a payment buyer, and the price of the vehicle, in most cases, becomes secondary. This allows for a huge profit for the dealer. Answer this question with "I have not decided." and negotiate the final price of the vehicle before getting monthly payment amounts.

# 2...Saying..."I'm paying cash, what's your best price?"

Don't ever ask a dealership that question...it will tell them that you are uneducated when it comes to buying a car. A dealer profits from the lender when you finance... If you are paying cash, there is no gain on that end for the dealer and he will take that into account before the negotiations begin.

During the negotiation process, if the deal is tight -showing little or no profit- the dealer will be more likely to accept your offer if you are financing, because he will be realizing a profit from the lender. If you are not financing with them, he may not accept your offer.

I can't recall a week going by when selling used cars that a buyer would not make this statement...paying cash what's your best price...that question always put a smile on my face as I realized I was dealing with someone that didn't have a clue on how to buy a car...

# 3...Not testing vehicle performance properly

From personal experience 80% of consumers do not have a clue how to properly test drive a car,do you?

Starting the test drive... Drive the car slowly at first- feel, and count, the shift changes. Any slipping? Any hesitation? Any vibrations?

Drive- long enough to get the engine warm as most indicator lights -warning of engine trouble- won't glow until the vehicle has thoroughly warmed up.

One of the most, if not the most, important steps in the whole process of buying a used vehicle is taking it on the Highway for a test drive! You absolutely must. Here are some things you may experience on the highway that are not easily experienced driving around town:

- Excessive wind noise from windows?

- Whirring sound from tires?

- Cruise Control function

- Hesitation or lagging when accelerating ?

- High speed braking... At 60k/100 km an hour hit the brake - does it pulsate? Does it pull left or right? Does the body of car swerve?

- Engine and Transmission function at high speeds... RP Ms, Whining Noise, Engine Strain?

- Acceleration when passing

You may have heard the term a car feels TIGHT... If you have tested all of the above questions and you feel the car passed every test and you've been feeling like the car responds like as if a part of you when driving then the vehicle is TIGHT and you could consider bringing it home

Remember the Dealer can't tell you that a car handles the way you like - you have to find out on your own.

From experience about 80% of consumers buy a used car without testing the vehicle on the highway, and a huge percentage of these buyers will return within 24 hrs with some problems related to above questions

# 4...Total trust in dealership - salesperson

An experienced and successful salesperson will gain your trust the key here is that you must realize the salesperson is working on a commission of the gross profit in the 25% - 30% range. The more you pay - the more commission gained...keep that in mind when dealing with a salesperson who has gained your trust.

# 5...Not getting full history of car

Any registered dealership can obtain service dates, accident reports, and full history on vehicle recalls but in most cases the buyer does not ASK and the dealership will skip it and get a quick, no hassle sale.

# 6...Getting sucked into after market products

When you enter the business office, understand that the very polite person you will be dealing works on commission only. No sale, No gain. If you are able to leave the business office with a signed bill of sale showing no after-market products added you are either lucky, dealing with an inexperienced business Mgr, or you're very clever and have learned some steps involved in the buying process.

It's within my expertise, being associated with volume dealers, that I can't recall a week passing without a buyer calling the next day with buyers remorse, having not slept all night looking at signed bill of sale with after market products added $2000 to $5000 and wants to cancel.

We all know in every industry there are inexperienced sales people - good - average - above average - superior - and top guns...a top gun business/finance Mg r's income in a volume store can be in the $ 200,000 bracket. All commission, no salary. Demand your bill of sale to sign and leave because if you don't, the top gun will wear you down...

If I had to pick one area that has totally amazed and baffled me over the years, It is the buyer that will negotiate for hours over a few bucks and then leave the business office having added up $ 5000 in after-market products.

# 7...Advertisements that guarantee top dollars for trade

Rule #1- Focus on the trade difference-Let's say that you've been looking at a $15,000 car at one Dealership and your trade allowance was $3,000 but another dealer allowed $4,000 trade for the same car, same condition but the Dealer wanted $16,000 there is no difference, you would like the high trade in value from the one dealer, and the discounted price from the other, this can be very frustrating.

A dealership in most cases will maximize your trade in order to sell you a car...You must concentrate only on what you have to pay difference, not what Dealer tells you your trade is worth...

Trading your vehicle to purchase a brand new vehicle is a very simple process of shopping your trade value at one dealership VS another...

Trading up a few model years for another used vehicle becomes more complicated as there can't be 2 identical used vehicles - they may look the same, with about same miles, but will not have same history and most likely wont perform the same as the other.

Shopping at a one price store where prices are firm you are more likely to get a true value for your trade.

Shopping at a store where prices are negotiable you will get a higher trade value on paper as your trade allowance figure will show against the asking price...

# 8...Not negotiating scratches - dents - manual - extra keys

It's very important when negotiating that all verbal promises are included on worksheet such as a small dent to be fixed, scratches, torn seat, knob missing, replacements, etc.

It happens thousand of times everyday...A buyer notices something to be fixed or need to be replaced while viewing or test driving a car and the salesman says it will be fixed, or we will look into it. After all the other details have been worked out, these little promises are forgotten, and the deal is written up without them.

It's too late now when you come to pick up your car. You say to salesman "YOU SAID that would be fixed" In most cases it's an honest mistake by the salesman, but at the same time the dealer did not allow this expense into the negotiation process when salesperson presented the offer. The dealer does not feel obligated. Subject to cost, the dealer will, on many occasions, bend to retain customer satisfaction or the salesman will foot the expense.

Many buyers will take delivery driving away angry, but will have learned a step in the buying process the hard way.

When you purchase a NEW car you get spare keys and an Owners Manual. With a USED car it's hit and miss.

Upon delivery the salesman hands you one KEY and says thanks for the business. Lots of buyers at this point ask "Aren't I supposed to get two keys, what about the manual?"

Your buying a used car...CHECK that vehicle has everything you expect, no matter how small...Again this is something that must be written with offer...

# 9...Not shopping more than one dealership

You plan on visiting a dealership- getting a feel for what is out there, prices, etc. But when you leave you will have bought a car on your first visit! WHY?

Salespeople are highly trained to close the deal on your first visit. They know if you leave you will probably buy at the next dealership you visit, because those salesmen are trained to sell today as well. If you don't leave your first visit to the dealership with just a look, instead having bought a car it's most likely dealer will have made huge gross profit...

no matter how good the deal is you must study your options- if the deal is not there tomorrow then it was not to be.

# 10...Letting emotions rule your brain

Ask yourself with pen and paper What manufacturers - Size - Models - Makes - and Equipment fit my budget and what options are a MUST,

Because if you enter a Superstore with a huge selection, your emotions could take over, and you end shopping for - Looks - Style - Color - rather than needs...