Why does buying a car give me anxiety?
Cars are big-ticket items — after a house, a car is probably one of the most significant purchases you'll ever make. It's a big responsibility, and there's a high chance you'll experience some stress and uncertainty throughout the car buying process.
Too many choices
You'd think a large selection of vehicles would make your decision easier. But having too many options can make you second guess your decision. A psychological theory reported by Psychology Today suggests that too many choices can make consumers feel stressed, unhappy, and disappointed. While there may not be significant consequences, cars are big-ticket items. Feeling stressed and the possibility of making the wrong decision are challenging emotions to handle.
Many people don't like confrontation, and the idea of confronting a pushy salesperson can seem scary. You may feel anxious that the salesperson will persuade you into buying the wrong car or that you'll have trouble negotiating.
Important financial decisions
Coming up with a budget and sticking to it is tricky — especially for something as important as a car. Several financial decisions include buying or leasing and finding a lender to offer you financing. There's also the matter of whether you'll get a good deal on the vehicle. Use our lease vs. buy car calculator to help you see whether buying a new car or leasing is right for you.
How can I avoid feeling anxiety after buying a car?
You can take some steps to make the buying experience less stressful and maybe even enjoyable. Follow these steps to cut down on car buying anxiety and feel confident in your decision.
Do plenty of advance research
Stepping into a car showroom for the first time can be overwhelming, especially if you don't know anything about the different cars. Take time to research at home before setting foot in a dealership. You can determine what you want in a car and narrow it down to the cars that best fit your needs. Read reviews about those specific cars to see how other drivers like them. Once you have a car in mind, research a fair price — this way, you can have a specific figure in mind before you start negotiations.
Test drive the cars you like
Get behind the wheel of each vehicle you're considering buying to see how it drives. Once you've picked your favorite, take it out a few more times to feel confident it's the right one for you. Try test driving the car in different weather conditions and on different types of roads, such as highways and residential streets, to understand how it handles different situations. Learn more about how to test drive a car at a dealership.
Ask the dealership about warranties
All new cars come with a warranty, and they're typically valid for the car's first three years or 30,000 miles. Some vehicles even have extended warranties that can last for ten years or 100,000 miles. Whether you're buying a new or used vehicle, ask about the car's warranty. Having a warranty may ease your mind if you're worried about future mechanical issues. Learn more about what car warranties cover.
Remember that you have the upper hand as the customer
If a salesperson makes you feel pressured or uncomfortable, don't be afraid to leave and go to a different dealership. You should be able to shop for the cars you like while feeling comfortable during the process.
Keep a notebook of your car buying process
There's a lot of information to keep track of when car shopping. Keep your thoughts organized in a notebook. Make notes during the research stage and while viewing cars at the dealership. Write down your thoughts right after viewing or test driving a car while the experience is fresh in your mind. You can then look back at your notes if you're deciding between a few models.
Don't rush your decision
Allow yourself a cooling-off period before finalizing a deal. If you change your mind you may not be able to get out of a contract if you decide too quickly. Once you've picked out the car you want and negotiated a price you're happy with, allow yourself an extra day to think about the decision. Read through the contract in the comfort of your home. If you feel any uncertainty, take the car on another test drive, and allow yourself more time to decide.
If you're still happy with the contract and excited to start driving the car, return to the dealership the next day to finish up the paperwork. Some dealerships offer a cooling-off period for a few days after purchasing a vehicle. This time allows you to cancel your car purchase or return it if you're not happy. You can try negotiating this into your contract if it will make you feel more confident in your decision.