Have you read this Time Moneyland article on how less consumers are test-driving? Would you actually buy a car without a test-drive? Shoes, okay. A dress, sure. An expensive TV, maybe. But a car, never. Please don’t do it.
The article didn’t specify, but in my experience, women are especially likely to skip the drive. For a lot of good reasons, really. They don’t like being talked down to. They’re really great at researching a purchase online and comparison shopping in general, so they feel the dealer is unnecessary. Worse, they’re afraid that the car will be so beautiful and that new car smell so intoxicating that they’ll make an irrational decision (like that $400 dress with the tags on it hanging in the closet from 4 years ago.) So, they avoid as much time at the dealer as possible.
So, I’m directing this at you – you smart, budget-minded, plugged-in, independent lady.
I know that you’re tech savvy. I know you know all about Edmunds.com and Truecar.com and have read all the reviews and using a special algorithm can determine the best car for you in your budget.
Here are 3 reasons you may not have thought of why you should test-drive anyway:
1. The car’s specs on paper may not tell the whole story. No review is going to tell you that the radio buttons are just out of reach for someone with your arm length or that the lumbar won’t touch the right spot on your back or someone exactly your height will have several blind spots.
2. You can’t return it. Really. The three-day right of recission only applies if someone comes to your house and sells you something, like a vacuum cleaner. (Trust me, I googled this.) You found the dealer, they didn’t come find you. Even if the dealer wanted to take the car back (and most smart ones would prefer that to a mouthy, unsatisfied customer), they can’t because the transaction costs are huge; remember, the state’s going to want their cut in taxes and fees for a transfer of title and registration. You won’t get what you paid for it, even if you only put a couple miles on it because the vehicle history report will now say the car changed hands 3 times already. That would be a red flag you wouldn’t pay full price for, right?
3. You need to make sure the car is there. It’s old school and slimy, but some dealers may sell you a car they don’t have. Especially if you’re some distance away from them and aren’t likely to service your car there or spend any more money with them and are only paying a minimal-profit Internet price, they might take a deposit just so another dealer won’t make a sale. From time to time my Internet customers would call me and say,”so, I gave Dealer X a $1000 deposit on that car you told me didn’t exist and couldn’t be located and would have to be factory-ordered and that I’d have to wait 3 months for. They said they had one coming in a week or so, and that was 2 months ago and I really need a car.”
So I know you hate the dealer and don’t want to deal with the test-drive, but it’s worth it. No salesperson can make you buy anything and I promise, even you can resist that new car smell.