6 Costly Car Buying MistakesWhen you’re in the market to buy a car you’re faced with many options. You can buy new, used or lease a car. Many dealers are happy to put you into a car that isn’t the right choice for your situation, whether financially or lifestyle wise. One of the worst things you can do is to give into impulse when purchasing a car. It’s easy to do when you’re buying your first car, but even experienced buyers fall pray to the impulse buy. To get the most for your money and end up with a car truly fits your needs, you need to make the time to research your purchase and evaluate your situation.

When you factor in the high-pressure salesmen at most car dealerships, it can be completely overwhelming to pick out a car, negotiate the price, get approved for financing, and complete the sale. One small mistake can cost you hundreds of dollars, or even thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your vehicle.

We’ve come up with 6 common car buying mistakes that you can avoid the next time you’re buying a vehicle.

Don’t sacrifice reliability for curb appeal

It’s easy to be swayed by a great looking car or one with the latest gadgets, but it’s important to do your research. Some cars are more reliable than others, be sure to check online for known issues with certain models before you decide on the right car for you.

Don’t confuse want with need

You must approach car buying with a level head if you want a car that you won’t regret later. Yes, that stunning two-seater convertible would look amazing cruising down the highway, but where will you put your two children. What will you do if you need to purchase a dresser? If you’re considering having children, already have children or are thinking of moving in the future, maybe you should consider a better suited alternative. We suggest you make a list of activities that you need your car for, and make sure the model you’re interested in will work in those situations.

Don’t test drive the wrong trim

When you’ve narrowed down your choice, you’re ready for a test drive. Once you’ve decided, insist on driving the exact model that you want to purchase. In most cases, the different trim levels of a car don’t just reference external body styles – there are performance differences as well. Some dealers will let you test drive the highest trim level and then sell you a lower level trim that’s more affordable. When this happens you’ll quickly realize that the car isn’t all that you’d imagined and be disappointed with your purchase.

Don’t forget to check what other people pay

If you’re already doing your homework on the car you want to purchase,  you have an idea of what the car should cost. Don’t forget to check out competitors for a better deal. Don’t be afraid to bring the competitor’s deal up when you’re considering a car, most dealers would rather match a deal than lose a sale. There are various resources online to find out what other buyers paid for a vehicle, but it’s easy to hop on AutoTrader or eBay Motors and see the list price for vehicles. Browse around and see what vehicles are listed for so that you can be sure to buy your car at a competitive price.

Don’t underestimate the value of your trade-in

One of the best ways to save money on a new purchase is to trade in your current car. Don’t take the dealer’s word on the worth of your car, be sure to check the value of your car through Kelly Blue Book or the NADA guide to determine your car’s trade in value. Make sure you’ve already negotiated the price on the car you’re buying before you let the dealer know that you’re trading in your old car. Remember – if you don’t like what the dealer is offering, you can always take your business to another dealership.

Don’t negotiate based solely on monthly payments

It’s easy to focus on the cost per month, but interest rates can greatly impact the cost of the vehicle. It seems logical that a $250 monthly payment is more affordable than a $350 monthly payment. What most buyers don’t realize is that the lower payment means your loan term will be a longer period of time, which means you’ll be paying much more for the vehicle over the life of the loan.


If you approach buying a car with these costly car buying missteps in mind, you can be confident that you will get the best price possible. If you’re already in the market for a vehicle, stop by our auction to get the best price on used cars in Baltimore. All our cars sell for well below the KBB value and our family friendly atmosphere is one you don’t want to miss.