7 Ways to Avoid Being Ripped off when Buying a Car ...

Do you need to know how to avoid being ripped off when buying a car? We usually spend a lot of money on a car, and want a reliable, safe model. But if you're not mechanically minded there's always the risk of making an expensive mistake. Here are some ways to avoid being ripped off when buying a car …

1. Research Prices

If you want to avoid being ripped off when buying a car, then you should do plenty of research before even taking one for a test drive. One very important factor is to have a good idea of what each model is worth, so check out price guides. This should help you avoid paying over the odds for a car. Remember that if you trade in your old car, dealers will inflate the price of the new car to take the "value" of yours into account.

2. Decide What You Want

Dealers will try to persuade you to upgrade, so that you end up spending a lot more than you intended. But is there any sense in having features that you will never use? Decide in advance what you want or need in a car, and stick to that. Air conditioning is essential if you live in a hot part of the country. Expensive upholstery is best avoided, however, if your car will be regularly transporting the kids and dogs.

3. Knowledgeable Friend

Most of us know little about cars except how to drive them. When it comes to choosing a car, we're lost. It's all too easy to end up making an expensive mistake and driving off with a car that isn't worth what we paid for it. This is where a knowledgeable friend comes in. If you know someone with mechanical knowledge, ask them to accompany you when you look at cars.

4. Expert Report

Since we don't all have a helpful friend who knows all about cars, we may have to turn to the experts. Motoring organisations will inspect a car you are interested in and provide a report on the condition of the car. Yes, this costs money, but this initial investment may save you a lot more if it identifies a car with a lot of faults.

5. Take Your Time

When you're about to buy your first car, you want to get behind the wheel as quickly as possible. Or maybe you need a car urgently to get to work. Being in a hurry though, may lead you to pick the wrong car. So however much of a hurry you are in to get a new car, take your time and don't rush into making a purchase.

6. Set Your Budget

Set yourself a top limit for how much you are prepared to pay for a car. If you don't, you can easily end up spending more than you intended, perhaps to the extent of taking out an expensive loan to pay for it. When you've worked out your budget, be firm, and don't go above it. It's very tempting to say "it's only a bit above my limit", but the whole point of setting a budget is not to go above it.

7. The Salesman is Not Your Friend

Remember that the salesman is not there to do you any favors. He's there to sell cars and earn himself commission. Don't allow yourself to be pushed into buying a car that you don't want, or be flattered into making that purchase. Salesmen know all the tricks and tactics to make you spend, so always keep in mind what he's trying to do.

No car purchase is guaranteed to be free of risk, but with a sensible approach you can lessen that risk. Know what you are looking for, take expert advice, and never buy a car in a hurry. It's far better to take your time to find the right car. Have you ever bought a car that caused you nothing but trouble?