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Overcoming 3 Common Car Shopping Emotions

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February 2009 author photo

Jon Acuff is a staff writer for AutoTrader.com.


There's no denying emotion plays a role in the way we shop. That's why advertisers put an ocean kayak in an SUV commercial. You might never kayak the Atlantic, but that's a powerful image that stirs up some real emotions. The question is, can you balance both logic and feelings when shopping for a car? We believe you can, especially if you remember how to overcome the three emotions many people feel when they decide to buy a car:

1. Fear no car.
I've never felt scared driving by a dealership. They are not inherently scary places. But feeling afraid of being taken advantage of is real. Feeling pressure is unnerving. The greatest cure is to slow things down. Shopping is a game of money and time. Whether you're looking for a new car or searching for a good deal on used options, to regain control, take your time. Rarely does someone say, "I made a mistake because my actions were too well thought-out." Next time you feel scared, push "Pause." You'll be surprised at how quickly confidence returns.

2. Bring your anger to a controlled stop and make peace with your purchase.
Making the right decision feels peaceful. Whether that is picking a good loan or finding the right car for you, making the best choice is satisfying. The easiest way to reach automotive peace is to do your homework and research cars. Knowing your options helps eliminate confusion. Think about the last time you got lost. Chances are, you got angry because you didn't have the information you needed. It's the same with car shopping. Make it your goal to have GPS-like knowledge when it comes time for you to meet with the seller of a vehicle.

3. Drive happy with both your heart and your head.
"Life is a Highway," by Tom Cochrane. Route 66. Summer adventures to the Grand Canyon. The truth is, it's easy to see how driving can make us happy. The challenge is making sure your sense of "what if" doesn't cancel out your sense of "what is" when you search for cars. For instance, maybe having the top down in a convertible is your dream Saturday afternoon. But this particular Saturday, you need room for three kids, two strollers and one dog on the way to soccer practice. Maybe a crossover with some pep is the perfect compromise you'll miss if your sense of happiness for the convertible fantasy overwhelms your sense of logic. Make sure to drive happy with both your heart and your head.

Emotion gets the best of all us from time to time, but with a little planning it's possible to make emotions work for you instead of against you. If you're ready to start off on the right foot and take a step toward vehicular happiness, search for a car here. It's fast, easy and when you do it on AutoTrader.com, we play "Life is a Highway" in the background. OK, we don't do that, but there are more than 3 million listings, so the chances of finding a car you love are in your favor. And that's never a bad thing.

© 2008 AutoTrader.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
"AutoTrader.com" is a registered trademark of TPI Holdings, Inc. used under exclusive license.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
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