Avoid Common Mistakes that First-Time Used Car Buyers Make

Avoid Common Mistakes that First-Time Used Car Buyers Make

July 2023

“Better be cautious now, than to regret it later.”

Buying a used car instead of a new one is certainly a smart financial decision, but purchasing a used car carries several risks that should be taken into consideration. Buying a used car simply based on looks or price without any inspection or research can lead to disappointment. To ensure a satisfactory purchase, we have prepared a comprehensive guide for you on what not to do while buying a used car.

Avoid These Mistakes When Buying a Used Car:

Lack of Market Research

Not doing market research before buying a used car is a big mistake. Thoroughly research the car models you’re interested in, check their market value, and gather feedback from owners to make an informed decision. Don’t miss out on visiting multiple dealerships to compare prices and negotiate the best deal. This will help ensure that you make a confident and well-informed decision when purchasing a used car in Surrey, BC.


Not Setting a Budget

Determine your budget before starting your car research. Consider not only the purchase price but also ongoing expenses like insurance, maintenance, fuel, and repairs. Stick to your budget to avoid financial strain. It’s also important to factor in any additional costs, such as taxes and registration fees when setting your budget. By considering all of these expenses, you can ensure that you are making a realistic and sustainable financial decision.


Love at First Sight

Avoid making hasty decisions or falling in love with the first car you see. Don’t immediately buy a used vehicle based on price and looks. Consider your actual needs. If you are a family man, a sports car may look impressive, but it may not be the right choice for you. Likewise, a low-priced car that looks in good condition may not necessarily be good for its functionality. It is a wise choice to prioritize your true needs when buying a used car for the first time.


Allowing Seller to Pressurize You

Some dishonest used car dealers can smell first-time buyers as soon as they enter the store. Then they pressurize you to buy a car that is over your budget, and may or may not suit your needs. They may use statements like “This deal is only for today.”, “The offer is for a limited period”, or “Other buyers are already lined up for this car.”

Instead, seek out a dealer who speaks to your needs by asking you what you want in a car or making statements like, “Let’s look for something in your budget.” No matter how much you like the car, if you feel pressured, be ready to walk away. Bring a logical companion to help you stay on course.

Purchasing a Used Car Based on Appearance and Comfort

It’s a big mistake to base a purchase decision solely on the looks and appearance of the car. Anyone can polish up a piece of junk. Avoid buying a car just because it looks good. You may also be satisfied with a test drive, but a thorough inspection is always recommended. Take a mechanic friend with you or hire an experienced mechanic if you don’t know much about car mechanics. The majority of dependable dealers and sellers ought to permit this, possibly requesting a refundable deposit to take the vehicle for inspection.

Skipping the Vehicle History Check

Check for any prior accidents, vehicle issues, and the number of previous owners with a vehicle history report. Failure to investigate the car’s history could result in unanticipated costs. Avoid cars with questionable histories. You can check the vehicle history report using services like Carfax or AutoCheck. By skipping the vehicle history check, you may unknowingly purchase a car with hidden issues that could lead to costly repairs in the future. It is always better to invest in a thorough inspection to make an informed decision and avoid any potential financial setbacks down the line.

Not Inspecting the Car

Don’t purchase a used car without an inspection. Physically inspect the vehicle or hire a trusted mechanic to do a thorough inspection. Look for signs of damage, rust, leaks, or any other issues. Check the tires, brakes, lights, and interior components. Inspecting the car can give you a clear understanding of its overall condition and help you negotiate a fair price. The condition of a car matters a lot. A good car that is not maintained properly can become a lemon. Don’t forget to request the vehicle’s maintenance records to ensure it has been properly cared for in the past.

Skipping the Test Drive

Some buyers decide to buy their car without bothering to take it for a test drive. If you don’t test drive the car you’re buying, you run the risk of encountering unforeseen issues that could cost a lot of money in the future. Before deciding to buy a used car, think about taking a few for a test drive. By doing this, you can avoid having a change of heart and know exactly how the car operates before you buy it. Always test-drive the car before making a purchase. Pay attention to how it drives, accelerates, and brakes. Test all the features and systems to ensure everything works properly.

Avoid Distractions While Driving a Test Vehicle

Pay close attention to sounds from the engine and suspension during test drives. The purpose of test drives is to determine whether you can drive quietly and smoothly or if the car pulls to one side when you brake or accelerate. Nevertheless, you risk missing out on some of the car’s sounds if you listen to music or aren’t paying attention during the test drive.

Ignoring Financing Options

Shop around and have pre-approved monthly payments with you before shopping for your car. An auto loan calculator can help you determine the loan term and interest rate that fit your budget. Used car financing rates are generally higher than those for new cars, as new cars are lower risk for lenders and can recoup losses with a new vehicle. Explore your financing options in advance. Compare the interest rates, loan conditions, and down payment demands of various lenders. This will help you secure the best deal and avoid last-minute financing mistakes.

Not Considering Insurance Costs

Contact insurance providers to get quotes for the specific car models you’re considering. Insurance rates can vary significantly depending on the vehicle, so include this in your budget planning. Not considering insurance costs can lead to unexpected financial burdens. By contacting insurance providers and getting quotes for specific car models, you can accurately estimate the total cost of owning the vehicle and ensure it fits within your budget.

Impulse Buying

Don’t buy a car on the first day you see it. Take your time, consider visiting multiple sellers, and compare different options. Finalize the car that fits your needs, preferences, and budget. Researching the market and reading reviews can also help you make an informed decision and avoid potential regrets. Additionally, it is advisable to consult with a trusted mechanic or car expert to assess the condition of the vehicle and avoid any unexpected maintenance costs.

Not Negotiating

Don’t agree to the sticker price. Never be hesitant to bargain over the price with the dealer. They set the high price because they expect you to bargain with them. Do research on the market value of the car and make use of that information to your advantage. If the price doesn’t match your expectations, be ready to walk away. Negotiating can often lead to getting a better deal and saving money. It’s important to remain confident and assertive during the negotiation process, as sellers may be willing to lower the price to make a sale.

Assuming the Dealer is in a Better Position

First-time car buyers are often anxious and vulnerable. Some shady dealers sense this and use it as an opportunity to choose a financing plan that benefits them more than the customer. Earlier, dealers used to provide fewer financing options to clients, but now, due to huge market competition, buyers with even bad credit limits can obtain respectable financing. Find out what financing options your dealer offers first-time car buyers. To win a satisfied customer, a good dealer will be prepared to provide a variety of financing options. Look elsewhere if you can’t get a straightforward response.

Skipping a Pre-Purchase Inspection

Before finalizing the deal, take a trusted mechanic with you to inspect the car. They will identify any potential problems that missed your observation. Spending a few bucks on the fee of a mechanic for a car inspection can save you money and time in the long run. Additionally, investing in a thorough inspection can give you peace of mind and help you avoid unexpected expenses down the road.


It’s common to worry that a used car won’t be as reliable as a new one. Nowadays, many dealerships provide warranties for used cars that shield the new owner from any undiscovered flaws. Some pre-owned vehicles are even certified and inspected before being resold by the manufacturer or dealership for additional peace of mind. However, just because a car isn’t certified or warrantied doesn’t mean it isn’t dependable. Just a little extra research is needed to make sure you’re getting good value for your money. Remember, buying a used car requires careful consideration and due diligence. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can increase your chances of finding a reliable vehicle that suits your needs and budget.

Contact Skyline Auto Group for the best-used car deals in Surrey, BC, Canada.

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