Buying a new car is exciting and invigorating. You finally get to pick out all of the options that you really want in a vehicle. You can build the car from the ground up and order it from your dealer. You no longer have to worry about the car’s history of other owners or about the reliability of the vehicle; if you’re covered by a warranty, problems that are noted in that warranty will be taken care of for free. However, there are a handful of red flags that you should watch out for as you shop for your new car.
Often, you can “build” your new car online before you get to the dealership. The online design system tells you about the available options, the trim levels, the colors and more. If you then get to the dealership and the dealer refuses to give you what you want or tells you that certain features don’t exist, even though you’ve read about them online, you should be wary. The dealer’s lack of cooperation could mean you’ve actually done so much research that you know more about the vehicle than your dealer.
You have to sign a lot of paperwork when you buy a car, but most of it is pretty straightforward. If it looks like the dealer has written up a contract or agreement that is meant to confuse you, that contract is definitely a red flag. Ask the dealer to spell everything out in layman’s terms, and never sign before you know exactly what you’re signing. If the dealer won’t do as you ask, walk away from the purchase.
A big red flag is when the dealer puts extra fees into the contract that you didn’t know about up front. Everything should be written out in a point-by-point breakdown on the contract. Read each point and make sure it relates to a feature that you really did want to buy. If you see anything suspicious, ask the dealer to explain it, and make sure you’re satisfied with the explanation before spending your money. When you build the car online, the system gives you a similar price breakdown, so it may be wise to compare the two.
The Lack of a Warranty
Finally, if the dealer won’t give you a warranty on the car, it’s not just a red flag, but a sign that you should not buy the vehicle. All new cars come with a base warranty, which is typically for two to three years. The warranty covers factory defects. For instance, if you get the car back to your house and then find out that the headlights don’t work, the warranty means they’ll be fixed for free because there was clearly an expectation that they’d work when you bought the car. The dealer should also give you the option to extend the warranty, often to five or six years.