Though the process of buying a car can be exciting, it also requires you to consider a lot of things before finalising the purchase. Despite this, people often make several mistakes when buying a car. Read the article below to find out what these mistakes are.
Buying a car is not an easy process for even the most experienced and savvy among us. You have to jump through a lot of hoops; from dealing with the salesperson at a dealership, who will try their best to get as much money out of you to figuring out what product suits your needs at a certain budget to finding out what car insurance is the most fitting for your car. More often than not, the whole process can take a toll on a person.
The fact of the matter is there’s a lot at stake when buying a car: your time, money, and for some people, their family’s happiness.
While wanting the whole process to be perfect without any friction is nearly impossible, there are a few steps you can take to avoid making big mistakes that will slow and dampen the process further.
When shopping for cars, try to avoid these nine buying blunders to make the whole process easier.
1. Not doing your homework
None of these steps should be skipped or taken lightly, but this first step is super crucial because it sets the direction of the path you are about to take.
List down your needs vs wants, and figure out what are your priorities. This first step is also where you set aside finances and the budget.
Thanks to the Internet, everyone has access all sorts of information, so there’s no reason you can’t start your research online. There are many reliable and credible sites like Carsome, Carlist, CarBase.my and Mudah.com, if you’re looking for used cars, for example.
You can also visit the respective websites or social media accounts of car makers like Perodua, Proton, Toyota, Mazda and the list goes on, for more information on cars and deals. Unlike five years ago, many dealers are starting to market their products online too.
So there’s really no excuse for not knowing some facts and figures related to cars. The world has changed so much that you can now step foot in a dealership having already researched their vehicles.
Lastly, remember to not rush through this process and never buy under pressure - take as much time to conduct thorough research.
2. Limiting your options
If you’re looking for a great deal, it pays to shop around. Of course, it will take up your time and energy, but scoring that close-to-perfect deal would be worth it.
To be on the safe side, check at least three dealerships and what they have to offer. With the pandemic still in full swing, it may not be the best idea to go dealership hopping at the moment, but that's where the Internet plays an important role.
Just like the previous point, you can check reliable and credible sites like Carsome, Carlist, CarBase.my and Mudah.com, if you’re looking for used cars.
You can get a cool 360-view of a car when you shop online at Carsome.
Take Carsome, for example, you can view the vehicle inventory and filter by car price, monthly payment, make, body type, year, mileage, transmission and colour. You can also get a 360’-view of the car, alongside a full list of car details like engine capacity and variant.
Beyond comparing the actual products, compare deals and be sure to let the dealerships know of your intentions, that way you can secure the deal at ease.
A great product isn’t just measured by its price, sometimes you may also want to factor in other considerations like service. For instance, you may get a better experience with dealership A than dealership B because its service offers more comfort and convenience.
If you are not sure which dealer to go with, consider going through the reviews and testimonials to see what others have to say about the different dealerships.
3. Not thinking about the resale value
The price of cars depreciate over time, so try to recoup as much as you can from your current investment.
Not many people will end up using their first cars for the rest of their lives; you are more likely than not to sell it off after a few years, especially once your mobility needs start increasing or when you start earning more.
The fact of the matter is cars don’t last that long, and at some point you will need to invest in a new one.
Some features of the car matter more than others when it comes to evaluating its resale value. First, consider the brand of the car - some brands are more popular among drivers. These cars tend to have higher resale value because they are used by the majority of people.
Second, think about the vehicle specifications and the engine. Cars that have unique specifications may have a lower resale value because it may be harder to obtain spare parts or costs more at the workshop for a service.
Third, stick to a more neutral or standard colour. From what we have researched, it’s easier to sell white, black, or silver cars than ones that are bright colors.
Lastly, if you were thinking of modifying your car, we recommend you to reconsider that thought, too. Don’t waste your money as it could be used for your other investments. Additionally, don’t try changing wheels or exhaust and intake, and other things that may also void the warranty on your car.
The goal is to keep the value of the car rolling until your next purchase.
4. Not thinking about car maintenance
Your car won’t be able to last long without proper maintenance.
The value of your car isn’t just based on its sticker price, it will also include the investment that you put in for repairs and service.
At this stage, we’ve pretty much established that your car is quite the investment. Thus, keeping yourself on top of the maintenance schedule is crucial to not only your pocket but also the longevity of your car because at some point your car will reach its peak after all those rounds of running errands or commuting to work. Take care of your car and it will serve you well.
The cost of maintenance will depend widely on how much the car has been driven, the distance it covered, and the wear and tear.
From what we found online, a Perodua’s service maintenance package covering 50,000km costs at least RM1,400 - and this doesn't include batteries, tyres, timing belt and brake pads, all which need to be replaced after some time.
Maintaining your car also helps keep you safe on the road, lowers the cost of fuel, keeps your car value high and most importantly, ensures your car performs at its optimum best.
5. Focusing too much on monthly payments instead of the overall price
One way salespeople sell ideas or products to customers is to emphasise on the low figures that they would need to commit to. For example, they’ll say you only need to pay RM500 instead of the full RM70,000, which of course, is tempting. But don’t be easily fooled by this psychological tactic.
Instead pay more attention to the length of the payment plan and the interest rate you’ll be charged because that will be the full amount of money that you’ve actually spent once the car is paid off.
Ideally, you should pay off your car loan quickly to avoid high interest rates.
6. Not negotiating for a lower price at all
Nobody likes haggling and it is not an easy process, but you should at least give it a try if the price isn’t fixed.
It may not be your nature to haggle, but try to call or send emails to different dealerships, explaining how you have several better offers and asking if they can beat it.
Due to the high rivalry between dealers, they may budge, and from what our source tells us, this method has helped them save some money.
But before you go into negotiating, learn some quick tips to make sure you know what you’re doing! After all, negotiating is an art.
Here are some quick tips:
a) Know your numbers
Knowing your facts is important before you begin a debate, the same rule applies.
What should you know? The current market value of the car you are eyeing, any incentives, trade-in-fees, estimated fees and sales tax.
b) Shop your price
Once you get a quote from one place, contact other dealers for quotes as well.
c) Be unpredictable
Show that you can’t be controlled and that you are steering the ship by being unpredictable during car negotiations.
7. Not selecting the right car size
Bigger families would need a bigger car to ensure a smoother and more comfortable drive for all.
Too big or too small? Don’t buy a compact car if you’re a family of five. So go figure.
This rule is particularly relevant for families. When buying a car don't just think about your personal preferences, but think of how your choices would blend in with different scenarios as well. For instance, think of how many times you're going to travel by car, how many passengers will frequently be using your car with you, and if you may want to hand the car down to your children etc.
For example, if you are an engineer who frequently visits construction sites or is always off road, then it makes a lot of sense to want to invest in a SUV because it’s much more able to withstand the outdoors. If you commute a lot between different states, then you might want to get a sedan that doesn't consume much fuel. If you've got a big family and you travel a lot, then a spacious minivan or a hatchback might be more useful.
8. Spending unnecessarily on add-ons
Don’t pimp your car if you are on a strict budget. Do yourself a favor by just saying “no” to all extra options.
Think about what you actually need because most of the additional items that are offered by salespeople are not really necessary, are expensive, and would be a waste because you won’t even end up using them.
Don’t take that additional ashtray if you don’t smoke. An additional corrosion treatment is also pretty useless, because most cars already have it.
Same applies to rustproofing, another feature often sold by dealers, despite the fact that most cars today - from what we found - have excellent rustproofing, and are undercoated when they leave the factory.
Though you may be worried about your new expensive purchase, you should also be wary when dealers try to sell you unnecessary items.
Almost all aftermarket upgrades like tinted windows, floor mats etc. are cheaper outside the dealership.
9. Not taking the car for a test drive
Everyone experiences a car differently, so be sure to take it out for a test to see if you like how it feels on the road.
You should never take your salesman's words only. Though they are professionals, at the end of the day, their goal is to sell cars and increase their bottom line and make a commission.
You need to be comfortable driving the car on a daily basis, be it on the highway, while transporting the kids and pets, parking and other possible scenarios.
Here’s a checklist of things to be on the lookout for when you test drive:
- Make sure the seats are comfortable and easily adjustable.
- Test the blinkers.
- Be aware of any sounds of clinking, clanking or grating which could mean engine trouble.
- Test the brakes.
- Is it easy to drive? See if the steering wheel is responsive.
- Blast the air conditioner to make sure it works effectively.
- Look for any warning lights or symbols flashing on the dashboard panel.
Buying a car can be complicated, but hopefully these tips could ease the process
As part of your due diligence, compile as much information as possible of your car, consult an independent specialist, friends and families, and then test drive your chosen car.
Examine everything - from top to bottom - to help yourself make the right decision.
We wish you good luck!