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HEELS ON WHEELS: 5 Car-Buying Mistakes Women Must Avoid

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Originally Published January 6, 2012

By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

Realizing you’ve made a car-buying mistake isn’t as reparable as returning a pair of jeans to the department store because they didn’t fit right. When it comes to a vehicle, you’ve signed contracts, invested money and likely spent countless hours researching – only to feel like you haven’t done a very good job with this major purchase. Consider the following advice before you even set your new heels inside the so-called car of your dreams!

Mistake #5: Don’t buy way too small (or big) for your lifestyle.
To slim down your transportation budget, you’re thinking of going with some micro-wheels. But don’t fail to calculate your feelings about long-distance traveling in small cars. And a full-size SUV might sound safe and spacious, but many sedans and compact crossovers, especially Hyundai’s new model year lineup, offer the same qualities. To find the right-sized ride for you, try Perfect New Car Match answer a few simple questions about car preferences, and in a minute’s time you’ll get tailored results just right for your transportation lifestyle.

Mistake #4: Remaining within your shopping comfort zone.
Better deals on Fords to Fiats can be missed if you don’t make the effort to move beyond your zip code when researching vehicles. If you want to give buying local one more try, return to your nearby dealer with proof another car lot fifty miles away offered a better deal – and if they would care to match it. Also, make sure your Internet research involves websites aimed to deliver detailed evaluations using what thousands of customers (especially women) have said about how they were treated at dealerships both near and far of your location.

Mistake #3: Not knowing your financial self-worth.
Make this a thing of the past, ladies. It starts with paying debts on time to establish a positive credit history with a low debt-to-credit ratio. A clean credit report and a high FICO score results in an offer for the lowest vehicle interest rates available. Consider getting pre-approved by a bank or credit union for a car loan – it becomes another ace to play if two dealerships want to vie for your dollars.

Mistake #2: Failing to do proper research.
If knowing the used vehicle you are buying was once a rental car or in a severe accident, then obtaining the ownership history is important to you. A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is equivalent to a human thumb print and can be used to trace the car’s past. When conducting car research, check with J.D. Power and Associates for reliability data and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for crash-test results.

Mistake #1: Getting emotional over transportation.
Our emotions serve us well, but if you can’t remain rational when you need to, your judgment will suffer. To reach a state of objectivity about cars, you've got to test each and every one like an auto journalist. That means inspecting dozens, inside and out, being open or neutral about what attracts you the most and what doesn't. I've loved the looks of many vehicles only to change my opinion once inside or on the open road; likewise, I’ve done about-faces on cars I thought I’d end up detesting. The same advice applies to negotiating the price of a car: Stay the logical, wise woman you’ve worked so hard to become.

MORE HELP!: How to Buy A Car - 4 Steps To Become A Smarter Car Buyer