Car Buying Pitfalls – How To Not Lose Your Mind Or Money


We’ve all been there. You’ve done some research. You’ve finally found a potential next car. You rush towards it, part with lots of cash and get the car home. And then the problems may start. It might be a simple oil leak, or a major gearbox failure if you’re less lucky. But where did it all go wrong? Here are a few buyer do’s and don’t (s) to make sure you don’t end up out of pocket. With these tips, you can avoid the worst car buying pitfalls.

A good purchase? Depends who you ask, and what your plans are.
A good purchase? Depends who you ask, and what your plans are.

Do Be Vigilant
Buying a car can be stressful, but also really exciting. With this being said, it’s important not to let your guard down. It’s so easy to be swayed by catchy adverts and inviting headlines. That’s just the marketing department earning their salary. As I always say, you can use statistics and numbers to tell whatever story you like. My advice would be to view all the figures with an open mind. Find out about the car’s reliability, cost of parts, real world performance (which means ignoring the champagne 0-60 times). Some figures are far more relevant than others so don’t be unnecessarily swayed by a smooth talking salesperson. Find out about the car’s background, how long it’s been on the forecourt for, and any related recalls or horror stories. Always best to not rush into to large purchases, and then end up regretting them shortly afterwards.

Don’t Despair
You’ve found a car, and you want to get it before anyone else does. It’s good to be proactive, but let’s not fall into the trap of desperation. You are not duty bound to buy the the car, so don’t feel you have to rush and purchase something there and then. There will always be other cars to purchase that will do the job just as well, if you’re at all unsure. If something doesn’t feel right at the start, it might not improve with time.

Unless you’re buying a car with the acceptance that you may need to work on it (as I did with the Mondeo), only continue with the purchase if you feel comfortable. If you don’t feel completely happy, it’s fine to walk away. It’s the seller’s job to sell you a car. It’s not your job to buy it. Unless you’re a car buyer by trade, in which case you should know most of this anyway.

Do Ask Questions
Buying a car is a big commitment, second only to buying a house. Even if a house is completely empty, for most people it’s unlikely that you can find a property and move in the same day. Yet you can do exactly this with a vehicle. So make sure you ask as many questions as you can, even if you feel they may be silly. You will feel far more silly having not asked them if something then goes wrong. If lots are advising against a car, there might be a good reason why. Maybe everyone else is driving a particular model, so ask yourself what might make it so good, and if it may be good for you.

If a car is too cheap, get nosey about the history and read up on its reputation. Keep an eye on current trends too. Having said this, many are currently buying SUVs and while I can see the case for them, I couldn’t wholeheartedly recommend one.

Car buying and driving involves a lot of numbers. Make sure they add up for you.
Car buying and driving involves a lot of numbers. Make sure they add up for you.

There are a couple of caveats to the above. Cars are a very individual matter for some. I therefore won’t always advise someone to simply buy what everyone else is buying. Some people like to stand out from the crowd, and why not. If you enjoy cars as much as I do, the criteria extends a long way beyond boot space and cruise control, and that’s fine. These things can be expensive, so why shouldn’t we be picky? Also, if a dealer is offering a deal on a particular model that is time limited, I recognise the need for a bit of urgency. Be comfortable in the purchase, and my general rule is to only buy a car if you can afford two of that model. You still need to run this machine and repairs, fuel, tax and insurance can take their toll. Literally.

If all the above sounds like a lot of work, it can be. And this is where we come into play. We could do all this hard work for you, because it is absolutely worth doing for the peace of mind you will get afterwards. If you’re fairly confident, go ahead. Maybe you would like some advice, so call us up for free. If you want us to do the hard work for you and find you a car, get in touch. MotorKwirks exists entirely to help those struggling to find the best cars for them, in the shortest possible time, at a fair price. Thanks for reading.

What are your thoughts?