What are the top mistakes people make when buying a vehicle?
Today’s consumer is more educated than ever, particularly when it comes to buying a vehicle. At Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Scion, we do everything possible to support the educated consumer and have a number of efforts in place to provide important information people need when buying, leasing or servicing their vehicle, such as this Ask Gary blog.
There are, however, a number of common misconceptions and/or mistakes that people make that I’d like to share with you to help in the buying process:
- Beware of skipping key research: It’s not just what you buy, but where you buy it. While many people conduct extensive research on what type of vehicle to buy and how much they should pay, they often skip a critical step – researching the dealership. Resources such as Dealer Rater.com, Cars.com and the Better Business Bureau help consumers evaluate where they should buy their vehicle to make sure it’s from a reputable dealership with a strong service culture.
- Don’t hide your cards…and don’t let your dealer do it either: Once you’ve done your homework on the vehicle, defined your budget, defined your must-haves vs. nice to haves and researched the likely trade-in value for your existing vehicle, don’t feel like you have to hide that information from the dealer. Put it all on the table and ask your dealer to do the same. A transparent approach from both sides will make the process faster, minimize frustrations and hopefully maximize the excitement of buying your new vehicle.
- Don’t fool yourself into a false trade-in value: learn to use Kelley Blue Book effectively. Buyers need to know how to determine the true value of their used vehicle. There are misconceptions that can cause frustration during the buying process. It is understandable that everyone wants as high a trade-in value as possible but factors including mileage, repair and maintenance history and accident history matter.
- Only buy the features you really want/need: Don’t get fooled into buying features you simply don’t want or need. Be clear on your “must haves” vs. “nice to have.”
- Don’t disregard leasing as a viable option: We’ve covered this before, but there are many misconceptions about the benefits of leasing and I encourage people to evaluate leasing as a viable option. The dealer should help you understand whether it fits your budget, car driving preferences and driving habits. Make sure your dealer walks you through the differences between buying vs. leasing to help you make an informed decision.
- Know the truth about warranties: Figure into your budget the benefits of an extended warranty.
- Skimping on service will cost you: Determine where to get your vehicle serviced – it can make a difference in the long-term value and performance. Develop a relationship with your service provider. Like going to the doctor, Jaffarian’s Service Department keeps a record of all of your service visits and helps you maintain your maintenance schedule. In addition to minimizing costly problems, this keeps your warranty valid.
- Dealership size matters…or does it? Are there advantages to buying from a large or small dealership? Know the difference. Do you want to be the “small fish in the big pond” or the large fish in the small pond?” How important is it to you to have the personal touch?
I hope this will help enhance your vehicle-shopping and buying experience, so that you can speak with a dealer on an informed basis. Buying a new vehicle really can be a pleasurable experience. I know because of the number of letters we receive with positive feedback, as well as from our ratings on Dealerrater.com and womendrivers.com. We are here to help you make the right decision for your needs and your budget to help you avoid these common mistakes. Get informed. Stay informed!