5 Ways to Prevent Vehicle Buyer’s Remorse

When you buy a new car, it’s essential that you do your research beforehand, so that you don’t end up regretting your choice of vehicle! You’ve probably heard of the term ‘buyer’s remorse’, but may not have experienced it with a car. As this is likely to be one of the most expensive things you buy in your lifetime, you certainly don’t want to feel regret!

We’ve explored the topic of car buyer’s remorse in more detail below, looking at ways to avoid it, and what to do if you have purchased a car you wish you hadn’t.

Car Buyer’s Remorse

Car buyer’s remorse is probably more common than you think. One study from Which? found that around a third of drivers purchased a car they later regretted buying. And because buying a vehicle is a big commitment, both in terms of cost and how long you’ll own it, thinking you’ve made the wrong choice can cause a great deal of anxiety.

There are a lot of questions that come with buyer’s remorse. Things like whether you got a good finance deal, if you should have waited until you’d saved a bigger deposit, and if you picked the right make and model. Should this be your first vehicle, these worries are undoubtedly amplified. So how can you prevent such feelings of remorse?

How to Avoid Buyer’s Remorse

When it comes to buying a new car, you obviously don’t want to regret the purchase soon after. So what can you do to prevent buyer’s remorse? Doing research into the various options available on the market will help, but what other techniques are there? We’ve looked at five tactics you can try, in order to avoid regretting your vehicle purchase:

car buyer's remorse

1. Ask Lots of Questions

You may not wish to pester the sellers at the dealership with lots of questions, but how else can you learn more about a particular vehicle? Don’t be afraid to ask questions, whether it’s at the dealership, during a test drive, or when speaking with your lender. You can often find answers online too, at least about makes and models, if not about a specific car.

It might even be a good idea to make a list of questions to put to the dealer when you go to have a look at a vehicle. The more you’re able to find out at this stage, the more confident you’ll be in your decision when it comes to making a purchase.

2. Make a Wish List

Before buying a vehicle, it can be sensible to make two separate lists – one of the things you need from your car, and a list of wants. The first will be more practical considerations, such as the number of seats required, and whether the car is a hybrid, electric vehicle, or runs on petrol or diesel. The second list may include things like vehicle colour, and what sort of inbuilt gadgets the car has.

Once you’ve made these lists, you can start doing some research into which makes and models fit the bill. Make sure that the vehicles meet all your requirements, even if they don’t tick all the boxes on your list of wants. Try to find cars that have some exciting features though – the last thing you want is to end up with a car that, while it’s fit for purpose, you hate driving.

3. Consider Your Budget

It’s essential that you work out what you can afford in terms of buying a new car. Go through your budget, taking into account the cost of the vehicle itself, insurance, MOT, servicing, repairs, and fuel. These costs add up, so you need to consider all the associated costs, not just the finance repayments.

Overall, you have to ensure that the vehicle you’re buying is affordable. You’re bound to get buyer’s remorse if the car you purchase comes with instalments that eat up most of your monthly disposable income. Equally, you’ll probably regret committing to a vehicle that guzzles fuel and costs a fortune to run.

vehicle buyer's remorse

4. Go for a Test Drive

Before you commit to any car, it’s a good idea to take it for a test drive. That way, you can get a feel for the way it drives, and find out if there are any issues prior to putting down a deposit. Even if you’ve owned a similar car before, each one is bound to have its own quirks, so it’s worth going for a spin around the block. Listen out for any strange sounds the vehicle makes, and pay close attention to things like the suspension, steering, clutch and gearbox.

Before driving the car, you should also do a visual inspection. Look at the bodywork, and check if there are any dents or scratches. Then inside the vehicle, inspect the seats and door panels for staining or scuff marks. Test the electrics too, to ensure they are in full working order.

5. Use a Trustworthy Dealership

As with the vehicle itself, it’s sensible to do some research on the dealership before committing to anything. Read independent customer reviews and find out about experiences others have had with the dealership. Buying a car from a dealership you’re confident you can trust is sure to set your mind at ease.

It’s also worth noting that if you’re concerned about getting a good deal on a vehicle, it’s perfectly acceptable to negotiate. Even if the dealer is unable to lower the price, they may be able to throw in a few extras for free. Just make sure you keep your budget in mind, and don’t exceed this.

Dealing With Buyer’s Remorse

If you’ve already bought a car and are now regretting the purchase, is there anything you can do about it? It’s unlikely that you’ll simply be able to return the vehicle or sell it on quickly. The best thing to do may therefore be to wait it out. Any new car is bound to feel a little strange at first, even if you loved it initially. Think about the reasons you purchased the vehicle in the first place, and you may find that your regrets disappear in time. 

If this doesn’t happen, there are other options available. If you bought the car using a personal loan, or paid for it outright, you could sell it on and use the money to buy a new vehicle. With car finance, it’s a little more tricky, but not impossible. You will almost certainly need to settle any outstanding finance before you can sell the car, and can speak to the lender about a settlement figure. Alternatively, you may be able to refinance, taking out a new agreement with the lender.

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