How To Prevent Buyer’s Remorse When Buying a Used Car

Buyer’s remorse is a real thing. For those unfamiliar with the terminology, buyer’s remorse is when a consumer acquires a product or service and finds themself regretting their purchase shortly thereafter. This happens in all industries, including car sales. But, when dealing with cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs, buyer’s remorse is a lot more regrettable than a $50 pair of shoes and also comes with a lot more paperwork. So, here are two ways to prevent buyer’s remorse when buying a used car.

A good test-drive helps prevents buyer’s remorse

A man looks at a window sticker while shopping.
ELK GROVE VILLAGE, IL – JUNE 2: Jim Fraser looks at the sticker price of a new Chevrolet in the showroom of Hoskins Chevrolet June 2, 2003 in Elk Grove Village, Illinois | Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Test-driving a vehicle before a person buys a vehicle is not new. This effort permits a potential buyer to get a feel for a vehicle before making the investment. Test-driving has become a normal part of car sales, even if it is only for 30 minutes or an hour. So, test-drives have helped reduce buyer’s remorse.

Brick and mortar dealerships are not the only ones that permit customers to drive their product ahead of purchase. Online retailers also follow this model. However, there seems to be some disparity in their programs. According to Vroom’s website, they say, “From the day your vehicle is delivered, you get a full week (7 days or 250 miles, whichever comes first) to know your car.” By comparison, Carvana’s website is a little different. It says, “7-Day Money-Back Guarantee begins the day you receive the vehicle, regardless of the time of day. During that time, you can drive it for up to 400 miles and return or exchange it for any reason.”

Test-drive programs keep evolving, however. For example, a new test-drive/car sales program was rolled out today by one of the nation’s largest used car retailers, CarMax. Their aim with the new initiative is to remove the buyer’s remorse altogether. The company has both brick and mortar stores and offers the ability to buy a car online. According to their press release, CarMax found that 63 percent of used car consumers needed more than seven days to feel confident about making the right purchase. So, the company launched a hybrid type of test-drive/car sales program. They will let the consumer test-drive the vehicle for 24-hours. But, then they permit a 30-day money-back guarantee should a consumer be dissatisfied after the purchase. It is almost like a 30-day trial period, but up to 1,500 miles.

Elements of a good test-drive

The front of a CarMax dealership
NAPERVILLE, IL – JUNE 19: Cars sitting in the parking lot are reflected in the windows of used car retailer CarMax June 19, 2008 in Naperville, Illinois. | Yana Paskova/Getty Images

If a consumer has decided to do a test drive, there are a few things that they should pay attention to. The first is the start-up of the vehicle. Did the car sound okay on start-up? Or, was there scraping metal sounds? The next thing is to test the brakes. Before pulling out of the parking spot, inch forward and apply the brakes. Makes sure they work before going further. Then check the steering. Some cars have more sensitive steering than others. Next, check all the buttons and switches for functionality. Finally, determine if the vehicle is comfortable and check for fluid leaks.

Search Motorbiscuit for used car reviews

RELATED: 5 Things You Should Never Tell a Car Salesperson When Shopping for a Car

In addition to test-drives, search online and on MotorBiscuit for reviews of the vehicle. Search for the make and model you are interested in purchasing and examine the reviews. Don’t forget YouTube for the reviews. Sometimes seeing a review on video helps in making a car sales decision.

Buyer’s remorse is a sting that nobody likes. But, it seems that retailers are making strides to make sure the consumer is more assured of their purchase decision. The test drive is a big part of that. Also, thankfully there is this big thing called the internet that is full of car reviews. These two things together are a great thing in car sales for both the consumer and the retailer. But, even still, take time to do the due diligence. Happy hunting, friends!