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Buying a car more stressful than saying 'I do'

A new survey finds that people believe car shopping is more stressful than getting married.

By MSN Money Partner Jun 3, 2014 12:40PM

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyCar shopping is stressful.

Couple shopping for car © Image100, Jupiterimages

While that's likely no surprise to you, this may be: Americans think the process of shopping for and purchasing a vehicle is more stressful than getting married. That's according to a recent Car Week survey by

Carroll Lachnit, consumer advice editor at Edmunds, told MarketWatch:

Maybe they're thinking that at least when you're getting married, there's a party and a honeymoon at the end of some weeks of anxiety. But with car shopping, sometimes you get variable experiences and sometimes car shopping doesn't always go that well.

Lachnit said car shopping doesn't have to be stressful. She provided the following car shopping tips to MarketWatch.

  • Do your homework. Research the vehicles you're interested in, she said. Spend time to get familiar with your potential purchase. The Car Week survey found that people will try on as many pairs of shoes as they take cars for test drives, even though a vehicle is the second most expensive purchase of most people's lives.
  • Harness the power of the Internet. Lachnit said people can complete about 75 percent of the work associated with car shopping by using the Internet. But don't be fooled into thinking that everything can be done online. Lachnit said it's important to test drive a vehicle because there's no virtual substitute for sitting behind the wheel and getting a feel for the car and how it handles.

The Car Week survey also revealed these interesting tidbits:

  • I'll share that arm rest. One-third of Americans surveyed said they'd sooner sit in the middle seat on an airplane than car shop.
  • Time in the bedroom. One in five people said they'd gladly give up sex for one month if it meant they could avoid haggling over the price of a car. In fact, just 20 percent of car shoppers consider themselves "extreme price grinders" when it comes to trying to get the lowest possible price on a vehicle, said.

Do the results of this survey surprise you? Do you have any tips to make car shopping a little less stressful?

More from Money Talks News

Jun 3, 2014 3:03PM
If I had it to do over again, I'd buy a car over proposing marriage any day.  At least the car won't someday drive away unannounced to find itself, only to beg to return later.
Jun 3, 2014 1:12PM

The most important thing people need to learn is to say "no" and not feel bad about it.  Oftentimes, salesmen or women will try to pressure you into making a decision immediately.  Before you go into a dealership, make up your mind whether or not you want to buy a car that day.  If not, then stick to your guns.  When you decide to buy a car, and the salesman tries to stick you with options that you don't really want, say "no." 


I think the reason it is stressful is because saying "no" to people goes against human nature.  Most people want to please other people and it feels better if you can say "yes" and not disappoint the person.  If you can overcome that and reinforce in your own mind that it is in your own best interest to say "no", when appropriate, if can relieve some of the stress.

Jun 3, 2014 4:19PM
Through my experience as a single female buying a car, the best lesson I've learned is to ask their best price for the vehicle and then when they ask you if you're trading in or making a cash down payment, just say, "I haven't decided that yet. What difference would that possibly make?".  Then watch them squirm.  It has worked to get me a great price every time.
Jun 3, 2014 5:06PM
if you are stressed out about saying "I do" then you probably shouldn't be getting married.
Jun 3, 2014 3:54PM
With all of the information provided consumers nowadays, car shopping has become 100% transparent. Often times the anxiety comes from a shoppers total lack of preparation and ignorance. Being intimidated to enter any automobile showroom is so 10 years ago. Put on your big boy underwear, do some homework and enjoy what should be an exciting and fun process.
Jun 3, 2014 4:36PM

I bought a new Ford Escape a few months ago. It was my first buying experience with a dealership, but it was a pleasant enough experience. Before I went to the dealership, I weighed out my options though. Should I just fix my current car, or take out a loan for a new car? If I get a new car, what do I need it to do? Should I get a new or used car? What brand and model should I get? In the end I was pulled between a Forester and the Escape, but I liked the standard electronics that came with the Escape.


So... I waited for a good dealer incentive program, got pre-approved through my bank, went to the dealer and told the salesman what options I wanted, how much I wanted to pay, and how much I'd like to get on my trade. Then I asked to see what he had on the lot. After walking the lot, I found one to my liking and left with my new car an hour or so later (paper work took a while).


Lesson learned: Be informed and ready to make a purchase. When you're ready to buy, you don't have to get sold.

Jun 3, 2014 3:44PM
More stressful than I Do?  For some, it's:  I Don't.
Jun 3, 2014 5:42PM
A car never absconded with my credit cards and charge thousands.  I'll gladly take the car over marriage.
Jun 3, 2014 7:38PM
I disagree - Buying a HOUSE right now makes you want to stab your self in the eye with a dirty cactus instead. Pure Hell!! Very little inventory and countless hoops once you get one - can take so long and age you about 10 yrs - my car buying was a simple week long experience- still not even done with my home buying transaction- started 6 months ago!!!!!!!!!!!
Jun 3, 2014 3:56PM
I suggest that you narrow your search down to a few cars, call the dealership ahead and have them get the car ready. let them know you are test driving a few different cars and will make a decision in a few days. You will find most will have the car outside ready for your arrival. Those that don't, do not deserve your business. Once you have made your decision, purchase through Costco or use the fleet dealer at the dealership. You will get the best price and will not get hassled. In and out in 2 hours max.
Jun 3, 2014 7:19PM
My husband and I just bought our first car together. We went to CalWorthington in Long Beach, CA and had the worst experience ever. Don't be fooled by the commercials, they are not friendly, and they won't finance anyone. After that horrible experience, we decided to go directly to our Credit Union to see if we qualified for a car loan there. We didn't, but the loan officer there recommended we go to Enterprise Car Sales. Since we had that horrible experience, I was hesitant about dealing with a car dealership again. My husband convinced me to give it one more try and I'm sure glad I did. We didn't get the car of our dreams, but we got a car. The sales team, loan team, and their branch manager are all friendly. The first thing they asked us when we sat down, was what was our dream car. When we told them what we wanted, they worked with us. Our dream car was out of our budget, but they were helpful in getting us into the right car for the right price.  Once we signed the papers, the loan officer asked us if we had any questions. I asked him why didn't they try to get us into the car we wanted? Wouldn't the commission be more for the person making the sale? He turned to me and said "Here at Enterprise Car Sales, we don't work on commission. So to us, we don't make extra if you buy a 32K car or a 10k car. We still get paid the same every paycheck."  
Jun 3, 2014 8:46PM
Go for the new car.  It won't run home to mother,  telling tales of drunkeness and cruelty.
Jun 3, 2014 5:24PM
I like finding, negotiating for and purchasing a car.  Here is how to do it:  HONESTLY figure out what you can pay.  Don't fudge.  Once you have a figure (payment or total price including tax, license, title fee, etc.) then do a little research about the available cars in that price range.  It isn't a trauma, it's fun.  You may be happier with a low miles used car with an extended warranty than a new one.  More bang for your buck, so to speak.
Jun 3, 2014 4:45PM
A trick I've used is to call two or three different dealerships and ask for their lowest cash price on the vehicle you want. Wait until the very last business day of the month, which is when the sales staff will do just about anything to move the last minute iron, and go to the place that gave you the lowest figure. Wander in rather nonchalantly and ask to see the car you want. Tell them you want to take a test drive, and when they ask how you want to pay for the car, tell them to figure up a price while you "decide" how to pay. The trick is to not commit to paying cash, 'cause they won't budge on the price, nor to commit to financing it, 'cause they'll kill you on the interest rate. That trick has worked for me and I was very happy with the deal and the car.
Jun 3, 2014 5:10PM

Car sales people are as different as...well people Some are under a lot of pressure by the dealership,

some are just jerks and try to intimidate you. I have purchased a number of cars in my day and I found the best way is go look at the cars you want, build a relationship with the sales person like any

friendship (why would you hang around someone you didn't like) and if they're not willing to work with you, move on, Lots of car dealerships, lots of sales people available.

You need to spend some time looking at prices and options so you have a ball park figure on what to pay ( all available to the public) Tell the sales person what you want and let them work for you! You are the one paying the commission. Even though you finally found the car you like with the options you want if its not the price/terms you can live with move on, there are other cars.

Jun 3, 2014 7:19PM
Saying I Do is not stressful.  Having to continue with the mortgage after she kicks you out though, is.
Jun 3, 2014 6:42PM
What's more stressful then saying I do?  Living in the State of Florida these people are genuine floridiots!
Jun 3, 2014 8:58PM
My Dad has the best car buying strategy I've ever heard.  He determines the exact car he wants to buy, right down to the last detail.  He walks into the car dealership and explains that he is going to visit five car dealerships that day.  The one that gives him the best price is the dealership he's going to purchase his car from.  No discussion about it.  The salesmen will try and work him over but he simply keeps asking what the price is on this car.  After about 5 minutes he turns to walk out the door and that's when he gets a price.  After he gets five prices he starts calling them back to work each dealer down further.  He's never paid a dollar more than the amount he decided on when he left the house that morning.  I did the same -- works like a dream.
Jun 4, 2014 6:40AM
We know we will get ripped off some how !
Jun 3, 2014 10:38PM
Putting up with your Mother-in-Law.............
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