It is hard to imagine getting through the day without making one or two minor mistakes. Whether that means hitting the snooze button one time too early or having the “chili special” for lunch, those minor mistakes are soon forgotten. It is the big mistakes we make that can end up costing us for a long time. That is certainly true when it comes to buying a used car. These are the mistakes to avoid the next time you go shopping for a car:

Not Lining Up Financing

Every dealership offers financing. In fact, that is how they make their money. Knowing that, you should avoid using their financing. They will still happily sell you a car but at least you’ll be in control of the loan. You can get pre-approved for a car loan from various lending entities. Shop around to get the best deal and then lock it down. You can be armed with that pre-approval and know exactly what your budget range will be.

Focusing On the Monthly Payment

You know what you can afford when it comes to your monthly payments. It might seem that extending out the loan means lower payments. That might be good for your immediate budget but it can end up costing you a lot more money in interest, even with a low rate. Also, think about lease versus a loan. At the end of two years, you’ll have to turn in that leased car and all the money you spent on repairs and payments will be gone. However, when you buy a used car you are making an investment that can come back in the form of a trade-in or sale later on. You won’t get the same amount that you paid but getting a little back is better than nothing.

Not Taking a Test Drive

You need to test drive the car that you’re buying whether it is new or used. This is more important if you’re buying the used car in a private sale. It is not just about sitting in the car but seeing how is drives, takes turns and how the pickup is.

Not Getting It Checked by a Mechanic

Buying a used car from a dealer might mean that you can get a limited warranty. That’s a good thing to take care of. With a private seller, you won’t have that warranty. It will probably be an “as is” sale. That means once you drive away, it is yours. The engine could literally fall out and there is nothing you can do. That is why you want to get your ride checked out by a mechanic that you trust. It might mean driving the car to the mechanic and that can be part of your test drive. If the seller is resistant to that, then walk away.

Not Pre-Negotiating in Advance

A used car sales person is going to do all they can to make a deal. That can sometimes work against you, as the deal they are making isn’t the one you expected. If you do your research in advance, then you know what the car is worth and what you will be willing to pay. Start the negotiations over the phone or email. The closer you can get to the number that way, the better off you’ll be at the dealership.