Craving a Crossfire? Longing for a Lincoln? Yearning for a Yaris?
Getting a new set of wheels is a surefire source of high-octane excitement. But don't get so revved up you lose sight of the financial consideration. The countless decisions regarding buying a new car are ones you want to make with a clear head.
"Car buying is, or should be, a calculated
decision,"says John Mondin, an auto travel counselor
with AAA. "It's a major purchase."
|Before you go cuckoo
for that coupe or raving for that roadster,
consider these top 10 mistakes car buyers
|Top 10 car-buying mistakes
Ignoring your needs.
the immortal words of Mick Jagger, you
can't always get what you want, but
at least in the realm of cars, you're
much better off with what you need.
Sure, sport utility vehicles are all
the rage, but do you need one to drive
the mile and a half to bingo every Sunday?
Is that racy red sports car really the
best choice for your family of five
kids that is still growing?
"Don't let a midlife crisis guide your
decision," says Mondin.
"Getting a spiffy new sports or status
car may give the buyer an immediate lift," says Miriam
Biddelman, a private-practice psychotherapist. "But
while the lift may not last, the bills surely do. This
is not a good path to go down."
Showing your hand.
"This is a
business transaction," says Paul Calisi,
president of the AAA of New York's Auto
Buying Program. "If you fall in love
with a car, be sure not to overreact
and get too anxious. Give yourself some
time to sit back and make sure it's
the car for you." In short, don't let
your heart rule your head -- it can
lead to aching in both body parts. Also,
keep a grasp on reality. If you can
afford $20,000 and the object of your
affection lists for $30,000, you might
be able to negotiate it down to, say,
$27,000. But there's no way you're going
to be able to buy it for $20,000 unless
there's a $7,000 rebate.
Bad research and no research.
Buying a car is not rocket science,
but you could compare it to a high school
term paper. To do it right, you've got
some homework ahead of you. The good
news is that with the advent of the
Internet, a world of information --
never available to our parents and grandparents
-- is just a click away. And usually
for free. Resources such as Kelley
Blue Book, Edmunds.com
provide tons of information on pricing,
rebates, holdback incentives, options,
packages, interest rates, negotiating
techniques, reviews, forums and much
more. Walking onto a dealer's lot with
no information is like walking into
the lion's den. And relying on a dealer
for information is just slightly better.