The eight mistakes car buyers make

MCT

Befuddled about buying a new car? You're not alone. But don''t let the prospect of a shiny new vehicle trip you into spending more than you need to or falling for dealer tricks.

Consumer Reports outlines the eight biggest mistakes buyers make when shopping for a new car:

- Being pressured to act. It's OK to move at your own pace --don't let yourself get bullied into buying before you're ready. When you do put down a deposit, use a credit card instead of writing a check. You'll have more protection if there is something fishy with the dealer.

- Taking dealers at their word. Are you offered free oil changes or other perks? Get them in writing. Don't settle on just a verbal agreement - have it written into the contract.

- Financing for longer than 48 months. If you settle for a long-term loan, you're likely going to pay a higher interest rate. And if the car is stolen, wrecked or you just want to trade it in early, you'll probably owe more than it's worth.

- Buying unnecessary extras. You'll be offered all sorts of Ā¾importantĀ¾ extras such as VIN glass etching, fabric protection or extended service. They can get expensive and you probably won't even need or use them.

- Opting for dealer financing without shopping around. Don't just go for the dealer's rate. Do some research on the current loan rates and look for good offers from banks, online sources or credit unions.

- Not negotiating a lease price. You can bargain for a lease price just as you would if you were buying the car.

- Leasing because you can't afford to buy. It's true that you'll have a lower monthly payment, but you'll probably pay a much higher finance charge. At the end of the lease period, you won't even own the car. If you are strapped for cash, consider buying a used car instead.

- Talking about trade-ins early in the process. Wait to mention your old car trade-in until after you've completed your negotiations on the new one.

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