how to avoid stress when buying a car

Car shopping is one of the most stressful things anyone can do. As men we are expected to be strong negotiators and lead the way when it comes to haggling with a car dealership. However, in a way, this is why car shopping is so stressful - it's because society expects us to deliver success on one of our families largest purchasing events. No pressure there! This is a five to ten year commitment - sometimes even longer! This makes shopping for a new car a very long process, and one that involves a lot of different elements. In this blog post, we will discuss seven strategies that will help make your car shopping experience less stressful!




Buying a car is often cited as one of the more stressful experiences in modern life. The process involves making a significant financial decision, dealing with salespeople, understanding complex financing and warranty terms, and worrying about making the right choice in a sea of options. This stress is compounded by the pressure to negotiate the best possible price and the fear of ending up with a lemon. To help alleviate this anxiety, it's beneficial to understand the top causes of stress when shopping for a car and to have strategies in place to deal with them effectively.

Here's a table outlining the top five causes of car shopping stress and some strategies to mitigate each:

Top Causes of StressStrategy to Deal with It
Overwhelming Options Prioritize your needs and wants in a vehicle to narrow down choices.
High Financial Stakes Set a realistic budget and stick to it; consider both new and used cars.
Pressure to Make the Right Choice Do thorough research on the models you're interested in and test drive them.
Negotiating Prices Learn average prices and negotiating tactics; don't be afraid to walk away if needed.
Fear of Buying a Lemon Get a pre-purchase inspection from a trusted mechanic; look for certified pre-owned options.

These strategies can help make the car buying process more manageable and less daunting, reducing stress and increasing confidence in your decision.


Know What You Want Before You Go Into The Dealership

The easiest way to reduce the stress of buying a car is to do a lot of research before you ever hit a dealership. If you know exactly what you want and need out of a car, resources like Auto Trader and Consumer Reports will help you determine which vehicles are likely to be a good fit. This will allow you to focus all of your attention on them and lower your stress significantly.


Work Out A Firm Budget And Stick To It

Knowing exactly how much money you have available to spend when you head off to the car dealership is going to really help you avoid the stress because you won’t be drawn in by the salesman's reign to convince you to buy something affordable, and you can simply get on with the job of choosing the right car for you without having to worry about whether those monthly payments are really as affordable as he is telling you. Again, it will also allow you to narrow down your search to a smaller pool of cars which is obviously way less stressful to deal with.


Research Your Trade-In Vehicle Value

If you are going to be trading in your existing vehicle, you should spend some time online researching how much it is worth and then determine the lowest value you would be happy to accept before you do the deal. These days it is extremely easy to get an instant bid directly from online dealers like CarMax that you can take with you when you visit the dealership. You should similarly look at the Kelly Blue Book value and what similar vehicles are selling for in your area.

When the dealer knows that you know your stuff in terms of used cars and their value, they are less likely to haggle you down so aggressively, making for a much less stressful and fruitful car buying experience.

Get The Price Of The Car Negotiated Before Discussing Your Trade-In Value

This is a key point that will reduce stress during the car buying process since you will be able to know what the actual price of the car is, rather than stressing out when they mix the sale price, discounts, promotions, and your trade-in all together. Too many numbers can be confusing and you want to make things are straight forward and easy as possible, so keep it simple!


Get Pre-approved For A Car Loan Before Going To The Dealership

Often the car salesperson will try to convince you that getting a loan is not necessary before going to the dealership, but it’s really important if you want to save yourself from more stress. Getting pre-approved for a vehicle loan or lease at your bank means that there won't be any pressure on price when you are negotiating with the dealer and because you already know which cars are in your budget range, it'll make the process much less stressful too.


Get A Dealership Recommendation

Instead of just heading to the nearest dealership, take the time to ask friends, neighbors, and family members for recommendations, and maybe check out online reviews. This will help you to find dealers who are fair and honest so that you don’t waste your time with salesmen who will try to con you or buying vehicles that are not up to your standard.


Shop Across Multiple Dealers

Car dealers have a reputation for being high-pressure businesses that will do anything to make you think that the deal is only good if you sign right there and then. By shopping across multiple dealers from the comfort and relaxed pace of your living room, you can find a dealership that feels right to you. This will also avoid that intense pressure and that can lead some folks to accept a deal that may not be completely right for them. However, if you already know what various dealers in your area are offering in terms of price and availability, then those tactics aren't going to work on you. 


Look For Haggle-Free Pricing Dealerships

These days, many car dealerships are operating under a haggle-free pricing policy, which means that they don’t bother pricing their vehicles artificially high knowing that their customers are likely o haggle them down to a fair price. If you can find such a dealership in your area, you will be able to save time and money by going with them, as well as having a pretty stress-free experience too.


Bring Someone With You Who Can Be Your Voice Of Reason When Making Decisions

Choosing a car can be hard, and it is very easy to let yourself get carried away when faced with the salesman’s pressure tactics. If you have someone there who is not emotionally attached to buying a new vehicle that they will enjoy taking care of for years to come; it makes things much easier because then they can say all those sensible words in response to your thoughts.

Additionally, as a third party, this person can watch your back if you appear to be getting too stressed out or if the salesperson starts saying things that just don't seem right.


Don't Be Afraid To Walk Away If You Feel Stressed Out

When you are getting a car, it's natural to feel some stress. But if the salesperson has crossed your boundaries and is making you uncomfortable in any way; then don't hesitate to walk away from them until they stop doing that. If this happens more than once, look for another dealership - there are plenty out there who will treat you with dignity while still providing good customer service.

Even if it isn't the fault of the sales person, if at any time you feel overwhelmed by the options or have any reluctance, stepping away from the table can help reduce your stress level. It may also have the added benefit of being interpreted as a negotiation tactic and the sales person may offer further incentives to continue the process. In this case, it is up to your trusted friend and advocate to be the voice of reason and encourage you to avoid anything you don't feel 100% comfortable with.

At the end of the day, shopping for a car isn't the same as shopping for a house or even an apartment. Cars are goods manufactured by hundreds of thousands. If you walk away from something that isn't exactly right for you, don't worry. You can always come back and buy it later.

Shopping for cars should be fun, so don’t let it stress you out!