Smart Car Buying Tips for Indian Buyers | CARS24
Rahul Jha
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Tips to Become an Informed Car Shopper

Rahul Jha

Car shopping can be fun, exhausting, exciting, and overwhelming, all at once — it’s easy to feel like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place (or should I say, between a Maruti and a Mahindra).

Think of it this way: buying a car is like learning how to make the perfect cup of tea. You want to make sure all the ingredients are compatible, you want to know the right proportions, and you want to make sure you’re not taking your eyes off the stove.

So, without further ado, let’s help you become a better, well-informed car shopper.

What Do You Want – New or Old?

When it comes to buying a car, one of the first and most important decisions you’ll need to make is whether you want a new or used vehicle. Both options have their own set of pros and cons and it’s important to take them all into consideration.

If you’re leaning towards a new car, there are a few things to consider. New cars are often riveting to look at, they come with the latest technology and safety features. If you have defined your priorities and are looking for a vehicle equipped with lane departure warnings, automatic emergency braking, and rearview cameras, a new car might just be your thing.

You’ll also be the first owner and will have access to the full warranty for your car, giving you some much-needed peace of mind in case something goes wrong. The car will also be blessed with a clean history, and you’ll know exactly what you’re getting. You’ll also be able to customise the car according to your preferences, such as selecting the colour, and modification options.

On the other hand, if you’re thinking about purchasing a used car, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Used cars are generally more affordable than new cars and they offer a wider range of vehicles to choose from.

With the help of a trusted car dealership, you may be able to find a car that has been well-maintained, well-taken care of, and in good condition. In case you’re a person of refined taste, you may be able to find a vintage car that has been discontinued or is no longer in production!

The decision between a new or used car is a personal one. It heavily depends on your individual needs, requirements, and preferences. If you’re looking for a car that’s loaded with the latest technology, has no accidental history, and comes with a longer warranty, then a new car may be the way to go. But if you have financial considerations and are looking for a more affordable option, then a used car may be the better choice for you at this point in your life.

1. Fix a Budget

Deciding on a budget for buying a car can be a daunting task. More so, if you’ve never had the opportunity to marinate yourself in the subtle yet excruciating arithmetic of the process. There are several factors to consider when determining how much money you’re willing to spend, including your current financial situation, your long-term goals, and your priorities.

Let’s take a look at some of the deciding factors that play a pivotal role in deciding on a budget for your car:

A. Your Current Financial Situation

Before you start shopping for a car, it’s important to consider your current financial situation. This includes a careful evaluation of your monthly income, your recurring expenses, and any outstanding debts you may have. Make sure that you’re comfortable with the amount of money you’re spending on a car.

B. Determine Your Long-term Goals

Your long-term goals also play a key role in determining your budget for buying a car. If you’re planning on temporarily moving to a different city, you may want to consider a used car that will help you navigate with ease. On the other hand, if you’re financially comfortable, you should consider buying your dream car.

C. Prioritise Your Needs

When it comes to buying a car, it’s important to compartmentalise your life and prioritise your needs. If you’re buying a car that is to be used by your family, and safety is a top priority , then you may want to consider a car that comes equipped with the latest safety features.

D. Research

Conducting thorough research is essential when setting a budget. You should always look at the prices for both new and used cars, and compare the prices for different brands and models.

E. Consider Financing Options

If you’re not financially stable, you might want to consider financing options. This can include taking a loan from a bank or exploring the different financing options at your dealership.

Overall, setting a budget for buying a new or used car requires plenty of consideration and research. But you can make things relatively easier by assessing your current financial situation, determining your long-term goals, prioritising your needs, researching car prices, and considering financing options. Once you’ve done these things and know exactly what you need, you’ll be on your way to finding a car that fits your budget.

Read More: 10 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Getting an Auto Loan

2. Choose a Reputed Dealership

Choosing the right car dealership is an important step in the car-buying process. You can do this by checking online reviews of your dealership, talking to other car owners, and visiting the dealership in person. This will give you a chance to see the dealership’s facilities, meet their staff, and get a sense of their overall customer service.

When you visit the dealership, pay attention to the inventory they have and see if there’s room for negotiations. By taking the time to find the right dealership, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision and get the best deal possible.

3. Avoid Common Mistakes

It’s easy to make mistakes while buying a car. But what are these mistakes everyone keeps talking about? I’ll tell you about some of them.

One of the most common mistakes people make is not doing enough research. They tend to focus on the make and model of the car they want, but they don’t take the time to research the car’s safety ratings, fuel efficiency, or resale value. By taking the time to do your research, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision and find a car that meets all your requirements.

Another common mistake is not setting a budget before you start shopping. We tend to fall in love with a particular car and then worry about how we’re going to pay for it later. By setting a budget, you’ll be able to narrow down your options and avoid buying something that’ll put you in a difficult financial situation.

Many people are not born with the superpower to negotiate and tend to accept the first price they’re given, without realising that the price of a car is often negotiable. By going out of your comfort zone and negotiating, you may be able to get a better deal on the car you want.

A common mistake that many buyers make is not getting the accidental history of the vehicle. This can provide valuable information about the previous owners of the car, and other information like its history of accidents, damages, and repairs.

Lastly, many people tend to overlook the importance of test-driving a car. A test drive can give you a good idea of how the car you’ve always wanted, feels and drives. It’s also a good opportunity to check some of the features of the car, such as the interiors, sound system, air conditioning, and comfort.

Learn More: 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying A Pre-owned Car

4. Avoid Buying From a Private Seller

Everyone advises against buying from a private seller. But have you ever wondered why? While buying a car from a private seller can appear to be cost-effective, it comes with its own set of risks.

Private sellers don’t always disclose a car’s history, making it incredibly risky to buy from them. Lack of information about the car’s history can be a problem if it has internal issues that could end up costing you thousands of rupees in repairs down the line.

Buying from a private seller often means that you’ll be on your own when it comes to arranging financing, warranties, or insurance. This can get exhausting. Trusted dealerships offer financing options and warranties, which can make the car-buying process smoother and more convenient for you.

Lastly, a private seller may not be as well-informed and professionally aware about the car’s features and maintenance as a professional dealership. They may not be able to answer your questions or provide the same level of service, assistance, and satisfaction that a dealership can offer.

5. Be Aware of Scams

Buying a new car can be an adventure of a lifetime, but it’s very important to be aware of the potential scams that can occur. Not all car dealerships or private sellers have the best intentions, and it’s essential to be well-educated and informed about some of the prevalent scams to protect yourself from being taken advantage of.

One of the most common scams is the “bait and switch” tactic. Oftentimes, a dealership advertises a car at a very low price to attract potential customers, but when you arrive at the dealership, you are told that the car is no longer available. The dealership then tries to sell you a more expensive car or a car with a higher interest rate. To avoid this scam, it is important to research the car and the dealership beforehand.

Next comes the “add-on” scam. This happens when a dealership adds on various extra features or services that you did not ask for or agree to. These can include extended warranties, unwanted modifications, or other add-ons that can increase the final price of the car. To avoid this scam, you need to be aware of any add-ons that the dealership is trying to sell you.

Another common scam is the “VIN switching” scam. Here, the dealership alters the VIN (vehicle identification number) of a car, making it appear to be a different car altogether. This is done to hide some of the questionable aspects of the car’s history, such as accidents, repairs, previous owners etc. To avoid this scam, it is important to get a vehicle history report before buying a car.

In conclusion, car shopping doesn’t have to be an uphill task. With the right information and tactics, you can become an informed car shopper and take control of the steering wheel. So, don’t be afraid to do your research, set a budget, and negotiate the price. Soon you’ll be able to outsmart all the difficult terrains of the car-buying experience.

And most importantly, don’t forget to have fun. After all, buying a car is a big decision, and it’s important to enjoy the long and tedious process.