12 Things Never To Do When Buying A Used Car

Buying a used car is something most people do at one time or another. Buying used is often much smarter than buying new, as new cars depreciate pretty much as soon as you drive them out of the show room! Not only that, you can buy lightly used cars for substantially less than their new counter parts. Whether you’ve got a big budget to spend or a small budget, buying a used car is often a smart choice. However, there are a few mistakes that people still make when going used car shopping.

So that you can experience success when searching for your used car, take a look at the 12 things you should never do when buying a used car below. You might be surprised at some of the mistakes you’ve made in the past!

  1. Telling The Salesperson You’re Going To Pay Cash

If you’re planning on paying cash, it will mean you’re not paying any interest on a car loan. Car dealerships tend to make a lot of money when you choose to finance a car, so they are missing out on this when you pay cash – this can cause some dealerships to hike up the price of the car considerably! Only tell them that you plan to pay cash after you have a price negotiated and you are preparing to sign the final paperwork. You absolutely must read the fine print before signing to ensure your price has not changed. They might try to trick you if they aren’t trustworthy.

  1. Telling The Salesperson You Already Have Financing Lined Up

Again, this will cause them to hike up the price of the car as they know they won’t be able to sell you high profit financing. It is exactly the same as telling them that you are going to pay cash.

If you are going to finance, the smartest thing to do is have a pre-approved financing deal from a bank, credit union, or another lender in place – but that doesn’t mean you have to tell the dealership. The only time to tell them this is after you have settled on a price for the vehicle.

  1. Telling Them You Urgently Need A New Car

Time is a luxury, and if they know you don’t have it they will know that you don’t have time to look for the best deals or negotiate. They will have no reason to offer you a great deal when they know that you need a car, like, yesterday. If you tell them your own car needs work, they won’t have any incentive to put a high value on your trade in, either. Hints, like saying you took public transportation to the dealership can also give them an inkling that you are in desperate need for the car. You might just be trying to be polite and make conversation, but they can learn a lot about your circumstances just by listening to you talk.


  1. Letting Them Know When You Fall In Love With A Car

By telling them when you absolutely love a car, they will think that you will pay whatever price they give you. On occasion, a dealer might even encourage you to take a car home for a weekend in the hopes that you will get attached to it – and most people do. Walk away from a bad deal, and always go with your gut. It’s harder to walk away from a bad deal when you are emotionally invested in a car, so be smart.

  1. Giving Away The Maximum Amount You Can Pay Each Month

Don’t tell the dealer the maximum amount you can pay each month. Dealers can also “pack” the payment with fees and add-ons that you don’t want or need and this will bring things up considerably. Look at the total cost of the car over the entire term of the financing or lease, and include taxes and fees. When used car shopping, you have to be comfortable with doing the math to make sure you’re getting a great deal on your car.

  1. Giving Away Your Occupation

If you give away what you do for a living, they may assume you make more money and charge you more. They may even search your name on social media to get an idea of what you do.

Price discrimination is legal, as long as it is not based on factors such as race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender. Charging different prices to customers based on their income is something that happens constantly. Be smart and keep your profession under wraps.

  1. Telling Them You’ve Never Bought A Car Before

A dealership will want to maximize profit, and they will take advantage of your lack of experience in order to do so. Make sure you’re prepared when you go shopping with the details of the car that you are looking at buying. Also take the time to learn more about the car buying process so that you’re prepared.

  1. Saying That You Don’t Know Your Credit Score

If you admit that you don’t know your credit score, dealers may tell you your credit score is lower than it actually is, and they can charge you more for financing this way. Even if your credit isn’t great, knowing your score and chatting to other lenders can give you a much better idea of what you should be paying.

  1. Admitting That You Haven’t Spoken To Other Dealers

If you tell them that you haven’t spoken to any other dealers, they will know that they don’t have to compete for your business. Even if you think the car you want is only with one dealer, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t shop around. Dealers often trade vehicles, and they can see each other’s stock, so you can still likely get multiple offers on the same vehicle. The dealer you buy from will be able to arrange a swap to get you the vehicle that you want.


  1. Admitting You’re No Good With Numbers

You will need to check all of the numbers on any agreement that they try to make with you. Don’t rely on their calculations, even if you have to use a calculator to be sure that the numbers add up. If something doesn’t look right, ask for it to be explained. If things still don’t feel right, you have to be comfortable with walking away.

  1. Forgetting To Check The Vehicle Over

Even if you don’t know anything about cars, you have to be ready to check the vehicle over so you don’t get swindled out of more money than it’s worth. You should be checking for offset doors, fenders, and uneven lines that could indicate frame damage. There should be no signs of recent welding, or rust underneath the car. Check the fluids too. If you’re not sure what to check, it’s always better to take somebody with you who does know what to check.

  1. Refusing To Test Drive The Car

Astonishingly, 20% of buyers don’t test drive a used car when buying. This can leave you with a serious case of buyer’s remorse. You should test drive a few before you make your final decision to ensure you like the car and that the engine is running smoothly.

Make sure you remember the 12 above don’ts when buying a used car, and you’ll end up with a car that’s right for you and a fantastic deal. Thanks for reading!