Buying a car can be an overwhelming experience.  With most people buying cars on loans from banks and other financial institutions, buying a car involves a financial commitment over a period of time after all. Once all these are taken into consideration, it is obvious that you don’t get taken for a ride at the showroom and end up picking a car that is not really matched with your needs. So we have a word of advice for when you go shopping cars.

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1. Be informed

Research and be informed. To facilitate a quick, effortless transaction, be prepared with your own paperwork. Use the internet and read automobile magazines, to research vehicle types, variants, options, features, and prices. It’s a good idea to have two or three vehicles on your wishlist, as flexibility goes a long way towards getting the car which will be value for your money. If you’re looking for a specific car that is good on mileage and easy to park, let the salesperson know. This will eliminate the overzealous salesperson from selling you a car you really have no use for.

2. Never go alone

This one is especially for female car buyers. Now, we’re in no way sexist and we really do believe in female empowerment, but we do know of cases where women buyers have been overcharged. So if you have a male in the family, take him car shopping. It’s a good idea even for male buyers to take someone along, if only for a second opinion.

3. Decide a budget

Decide the maximum amount of money that you can afford to spend on buying a car. If you are buying a car by availing a car loan then decide what is the EMI that you can afford on your present income.

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 4. Don’t talk money

Don’t discuss your ability to pay or if you plan to exchange your old car. All of these things can and will work against you in the final outcome of your purchase. Most salespeople like a challenge so they will try to push you into spending more than you wanted to if you name your price right off. This is collateral damage (and higher commission for the salesperson) at your expense. Know the value of your old vehicle to make sure you get the best deal. Simply go to multi-brand used car dealers and get the vehicle valuated. You can then negotiate accordingly.

5. He’s no friend

The salesman is not your friend, no matter how charming or harmless he seems. Although some dealerships may pride themselves on making repeat customers by giving great deals, the truth is the only thing they really care about is whether you’ll spend your money at their showroom. If you are not totally and completely comfortable with the salesman that attends to you, ask for a sales manager.

6. Calculate costs

Before buying a car go to a service centre and check out the spare parts prices and find out how expensive it is to maintain the car. Remember maintenance costs vary from car to car and depend on how good a condition you keep your car in.

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7. Petrol vs diesel

Petrol cars are cheaper to buy but they don’t match up to a diesel vehicle’s economy. But diesel cars cost more than petrol ones and maintenance expenses are higher too. If you have to drive long distances everyday then the diesel makes sense otherwise stick to a petrol car. So give a thought to all these factors before deciding whether to buy a petrol or diesel car.

8. Avoid impulse

At all costs, avoid impulse buying when purchasing a vehicle. Never let the salesperson know just how much you desire a specific vehicle. That knowledge puts the entire sales process in his court.

9. Test drive

A test drive should last a minimum of 20 minutes. You should travel a route that is familiar to you to avoid any surprises in terrain. Check the car out in light and heavy traffic, curves and bumps as this will tell you how well the car handles. Check out the brakes by feigning an emergency stop to see how they react. Try parking it and re-parking it in a parking lot.

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10. Be ready to leave

If the dealership will not do the deal, just walk away. You will know how much leverage you have over the dealership by the number of cars waiting in their parking lot. Remember if there are 50 cars waiting at the showroom parking lot then they need to sell them.

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