Car Owners' Biggest Blunders (& How to Avoid Them)
All of us commit some blunders. Some are innocuous while others can be very costly. In a car owner’s journey – from shopping around to buying to maintenance – here are some of the biggest blunders, including some tips on how to avoid them.
1. Focusing on Monthly Payment Amount when Purchasing a Vehicle
Many buyers go to the market with a set amount of monthly installment in mind. They shop for a car that they can afford and oftentimes, share the figure they want to pay every month with the car salesperson. If you do this, a dealer might suggest a longer loan term so the car can fit your budget. Problem is, you might actually end up paying more in terms of interest. To avoid this blunder, do not share any specific figure with the car dealer. Instead, ask for the total price of the car and different payment options available.
2. Not Doing Enough Test Drive
Some buyers do test drive just to have a feel of how the vehicle performs on the road. This is not enough. Experts suggest that when you test drive, you should think how you are going to use the car on a daily basis: driving on CTE during rush hour, transporting kids to and from the school, and even parking in various conditions and locations. Make sure you have a checklist of “must-have” features and refer to it during test drive.
“Experts suggest that when you test drive, you should think how you are going to use the car on a daily basis: driving on CTE during rush hour, transporting kids to and from the school, and even parking in various conditions and locations.”
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3. Buying Under Pressure
It’s common to see ‘today only’ and ‘now or never’ deals where a particularly good discount is given for that particular day only. Normally, shopping for, buying and driving away with a car in just a few hours is not a good idea. As buying a car is a major purchase, you need to at least give it a day or two of thorough consideration. Sometimes, if you express hesitation, you may actually end up being offered a better deal later on.
4. Skipping Insurance Considerations
When buying a vehicle, you need to look at total cost of ownership – and that includes cost of car insurance. Will you be paying more or less with this new vehicle? Is it something you can afford? The simple solution, really, is to consult with your insurance agent when buying a car as they often think about issues that could help save buyers from headache later on.
Once we’ve made our purchase and sped away with our vehicles, we also commit some of these maintenance blunders.
5. Servicing Your Own Vehicle Without Consulting the Pros
The thing about today’s vehicles is that they’re highly computerized and ultra-hi-tech. As such, troubleshooting, much less fixing something yourself, becomes incredibly difficult, especially if you don’t have the proper know-how, tools and diagnostic equipment. Yes, consulting with professional technician might cost you some money, but you are assured that your vehicle will get fixed instead of inadvertently making things worse (and a lot more expensive) if you do it yourself.
6. Ignoring Your Check Engine Light
When your check engine light comes on, it does not necessarily mean that you should shift into panic mode. But completely ignoring it is absolutely wrong. According to an article in streetdirectory.com, “the customer is really, in a long run, potentially hurting their pocket book by leaving that light and ignoring it, said Jim Collins, one of the national training team leaders for the Ford Motor Company. This is because when the car is having some sort of problems and has alerted you by turning on the check engine light, but you pretend you do not see it and continue to drive the car, the problems often get worse and require more time and money to fix.” To avoid having these issues, address "check engine" warnings as soon as possible.
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7. Auto-Renewing Car Insurance
Letting a car insurance go on auto-renewal mode is one of the biggest blunders car owners often commit. Review your options carefully and don’t get stuck with a bad deal. You need to select an insurer that provides customizable policies so you only pay for what you actually need. Another important factor to note is how good the claims policy is. Go for an insurer that offers a personal claims specialist who would assist you until your claim is resolved.
Do you have anything to add to this list? Share them in the comments section below.
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