Why is buying a car so stressful?
There are various reasons why, and we will have a look at a couple of them here. If you are thinking about giving up your current motor anytime soon, you might identify with the stressors we are going to mention. However, we have some handy tips too, so if you’re sweating buckets at the thought of getting back into the car-buying process, we may be able to alleviate some of your anxieties.
Stressor #1: Dealing with the expense
This is the biggie for many of us, because, as we all know, cars aren’t cheap. And not only will you be paying for the car, but there are all the other expenses that follow, including fuel, insurance, and tax. So, what should you do about it?
For starters, you need to work out your budget. It’s no good eyeing up the car of your dreams when you know you can’t afford it, so you have to be practical. You have the upfront cost of the car to consider, and as we said, you have all of those other expenses to consider, so it’s important to factor them in when looking at your financial situation. To help you figure out your budget, use a car affordability calculator. This will let you know how much you could reasonably afford to pay when looking at financing options and will help you to understand both the short and long-term costs of your purchase. You can then narrow down your search when researching the cars available to you.
It’s also worth knowing that there are ways to reduce the expense of buying a car. When looking at purchasing it through finance, the better your credit score is the less interest you will end up paying, so you might want to work at improving your credit score if you know it’s going to let you down. You can also make savings when buying a car at certain times of the year. Many dealerships bring down prices just after Christmas, for example, when people have less money in their pockets. And when newer models are announced, many dealers bring down the price of older models to get them off the lot before bringing in the upgraded motors. So, while there will still be an expense, it is possible to drive costs down further.
You should also negotiate with the seller. Many of them mark up the price of their vehicles anyway in preparation for a negotiation, so don’t be afraid to haggle over prices. In some cases, you might be able to get up to $500 off the asking price, and you might even get a few freebies thrown in if you push the seller further. Of course, the haggling process can be stressful in itself, especially when you don’t have a lot of experience with cars or negotiation skills. If this is the case, bring somebody with more experience along with you, and use the advice here to help you if going it alone. The best you can do is try, as at the very least, you will make some savings if you haggle, even if you’re inexperienced.
Stressor #2: Fear of buying a junker
When finding a used car especially, there is always the danger that we might end up driving away in something that could cost us more money down the line in maintenance costs and breakdown fees if the car isn’t worth the price we bought for it. For those of us who don’t know a lot about cars, this is a bigger danger, as we don’t always know what to look out for before the sale. Thankfully, there are ways around this problem.
To begin with, be careful of private sellers. To avoid a scam, you might prefer to go to an established dealership, as they shouldn’t sell you a junker because they have their reputation on the line. Research local dealers online, and talk to friends and family for their recommendations. By doing so, you should be able to find a reputable dealer, and some of your fears can be alleviated.
Secondly, whether buying privately from a dealer or a private seller, bring somebody with motoring experience along with you to assess the cars you are considering. They should know what to ask the seller too, so if you’re in any doubt about the questions you should be asking, let your trusted companion speak on your behalf. You might also consider the expense of a mechanic. Even if the car is advertised as being serviced, you can still pay for a professional to give the car a once over before purchase. If there are any faults, you can then request the seller deals with them before you hand over your cash, or preserve your money and head elsewhere on your car-buying search.
Take the car for more than one test drive too, as the longer you spend in the car before purchase, the better your opportunity to check for any faults. Again, ask an experienced friend to come along on the test drive with you if you are unsure about what to look out for when driving. Hopefully, everything will go well, and the car will perform as it should, but if not, you can pass the keys back to the seller and tell him where to ‘park his junker of a car.
One advantage of buying from a dealer is that you will also be offered a warranty. This will cover you for repair costs on any faults that may have been present in the car before purchase. Don’t fall for any short-term warranties (such as a month), as the longer the warranty, the less out of pocket you will be if faults present themselves later. In most cases, you can also buy a warranty from the manufacturer, and this may be more cost-effective than buying from the dealer, so research the options available to you.
Buying a car can be stressful, but we hope our suggestions have been useful to you. Let us know your thoughts, and if you have any further tips for our readers based on your experience, be sure to let us know.
Thanks for reading, and happy (stress-free) car buying!