Visiting your local car dealership can be exciting and distressing all at the same time. You feel excited because you are in the hunt for a new or used car and can hardly wait to buy one. But you can also feel distressed because you dread having to hammer out a good deal, which could take up your whole day.

But there are some things that you can do to minimize the stress and anxiety of car buying if you just follow a few easy tips. The first one is to know what model car you want. Although this may sound too basic, the truth of the matter is that many car shoppers go to a dealer without any clue as to what they want.

Being unprepared puts you at the mercy of the car salespeople and they will take advantage of the situation by upselling you to a more expensive car or features that you don’t really need. It’s great for them because they get a commission on what they can sell to you, but bad because you’ll be paying more for a car that isn’t suitable. So be prepared and do your car homework.

Don’t Skip the Test Drive

The car you are interested in may look good on paper, look good on the car lot, and look good to your friends, but if you skip the test drive you may find yourself with a car that may drive you up the wall in the long run.

A test drive can reveal many things that you would not be able to notice unless you take it for a spin. If the car transfers a lot of road noise to the interior this is the environment that you’ll have to drive in day in and day out. If you commute to work, the noisiness of the car can be highly irritating.

During the test drive ask the salesperson to remain quite so you can note how the car sounds when on the road. Turn off the radio, and keep the windows up see how well the car insulates road noise.

Test driving a car can quickly show if the car has enough acceleration or power. If possible take the car out on the freeway and see how well it can merge with traffic. Test driving a car also reveals how well the car handles. Some cars may exhibit difficult or “mushy” steering that isn’t stable or accurate.

If you’ve narrowed down your choices to a few cars, make sure you take a test drive in each one. And don’t forget, you are in no way obligated to buy after a test drive. If the salesman hints that you owe it to him to buy the car after all the time he’s spent with you, this is not the place you want to do business.

You Can’t Walk Away

The salesman tells you “We’ve only got a few of these models left, so better make an offer now!” Actually, no, you don’t have to do anything “now!” The reason why some salespeople say this is to get you to commit. They wouldn’t say this unless they picked up something from you that indicated you wanted the car badly. In poker parlance, this is known as giving away a “tell.”

Even if it were true, that the car dealer only had a few models left, do you really want to negotiate from a position of pressure or desperation? If there is one lesson that you can take away from all of this it is this: prepare to be able to walk away if the deal isn’t to your liking.

In part two of How To Avoid Common Car Buying Mistakes, we’ll cover the art of haggling over the price of a car and other tips on how to keep yourself out of trouble at the car dealership.

Source: MSN Autos

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