Skip to main content

Buying a new car is an exciting but tedious process. You have to research the make and model of the new car that you want, research local dealerships and their inventories, and then figure out how to pay for it. Amidst all that research and planning, there can be some deal breakers along the path. Here are four of them.

1. The car costs more than your maximum budget

car dealerships
Car dealership prices | Getty

The first deal breaker is the most simple one. If the car is out of your price range, don’t buy it. Although you can find financing to cover the cost of the car, it’s likely not worth the added stress of a high monthly car payment. In this case, it’s good to keep in mind your “needs” over your “wants” when buying a car, as your “wants” could easily get you into financial trouble.

If you don’t want to avoid buying the car, you could always settle for a lower trim level or buy one without as many options or accessories to appease your budget.

2. The dealership you’re working with is not up to par

A salesperson talks to a customer.
A salesperson talks to a customer. | J. Conrad Williams Jr./Newsday RM via Getty Images

If you found the car you want at a local dealership, but are not pleased with the salesperson’s service, walk away. Although the point of sale will only be a one-and-done kind of deal, it’s important to find a dealership that caters to your needs and treats you well.

Why? Because you’re likely going to go back to that same dealership for service and maintenance for the car that you’re buying. One bad experience could be a tell-tale sign that the dealership doesn’t value its customers.

However, this isn’t always the case. If you like the car that the dealership has, one workaround would be to speak to the sales manager or the general manager and voice your complaints. At the end of the day, they want your business and will do what they can to make it right – even it means putting you with a different salesperson.

3. The car doesn’t meet your personal preferences

Woman Smiling After Buying a Red Car
Woman Smiling After Buying a Red Car | Wiki Commons

If you find the make and model that you want, but it’s not the correct color or trim level, then move on. It’s easy to settle for a car that’s missing some smaller features, like a moonroof you’ll never use, for example.

But if a car isn’t the correct color or doesn’t have heated seats or a leather interior, you’ll have to live with it every day for years. It’s better to find the exact car – or as close to it as possible – from the get-go, so you won’t have any buyer’s regret.

4. You can’t get the interest rate that you want

A 0% financing sign on a car dealership window.
A 0% financing sign on a car dealership window. | Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Remember those car payments we talked about earlier? You won’t be able to afford them if the interest rate on the car loan is too high. Depending on your credit history and current situation, you should aim for an interest rate below 10%.

According to  NerdWallet, the ideal interest rate for a new car is somewhere around 2.96% and 6.57% for super-prime to non-prime borrowers. However, if you’re in the subprime category (below a 600 credit score), you may be subject to interest rates higher than 10%. In that case, it could be a better idea to wait until you can get a better rate or walk away from the idea of buying a new car altogether.

Deal breakers when buying a new car

Buying a new car is an exciting time. But it can easily be superseded by one of these four deal breakers. If you’re planning to buy a car, take your time and see if the process fits the necessary criteria. If not, be prepared to walk away and come back to car shopping when the timing is right.


The One Thing Customers Forget When They Buy an Expensive Luxury Car