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Avoid common mistakes when buying an off-road vehicle

There comes a time when many drivers begin to consider the idea of purchasing a new or used vehicle to add to their garage. Getting this shopping process off the ground can be difficult, and it's easy for many motorists to fall into common traps that can end up costing them time, money and sanity. 

"Buying a car is something people usually do at most every few years, so naturally the right way to go about it isn't always top of mind," said Brian Moody, the site editor of AutoTrader.com. "But a misstep during the shopping process could turn a great deal into a money pit in the long run." 

Instead of becoming a victim of one of these blunders, drivers should brush up on their knowledge and be prepared for what lies ahead. Here are some of the most common mistakes you should do your best to avoid as you hunt for your next purchase: 

Getting sucked into extra features
Even if you go to a dealership with a simple list of must-haves in mind, those needs can quickly snowball to an expensive array of amenities. Before you head to a location to scout out a potential purchase, outline a clear list of features that are must-haves, as well as some that would be an added bonus.

It is easy to get caught up in the exciting possibility of choosing a car with an impressive selection of features, but this is also one of the quickest ways to spend more money than you intend to. Stick to the list you have created and try to avoid being swayed by a salesperson. Remember, you can always make truck or Jeep modifications later on that will enhance the vehicle and cater it to your needs. 

Not taking the vehicle for a proper test drive
Nearly all drivers know they have to take a prospective vehicle for a test drive before signing on the dotted line. However, these motorists don't always take the automobile through a comprehensive drive. AutoTrader.com explained that a proper test drive should last for about 45 minutes in length and needs to take place on a variety of road types. 

If you're looking to go off-roading in a vehicle, you may want to consider test driving a machine in these conditions. Clear this undertaking with the seller before setting out, and be sure you understand the expectations that go along with it - for example, if you're contemplating purchasing a vehicle from an individual seller, take care to lay down the guidelines and restrictions about off-road driving. You may have to wash off some dirt or debris and give the parts of the vehicle a once over before returning it to its original owner. 

Ignoring the need for an auto inspection
The work doesn't stop after you get the keys. One of the first things that needs to be done after purchasing a car, new or used, is to take the vehicle in for an inspection. 

"Just because a car sounds and runs fine during the test drive doesn't necessarily mean everything is in top working order," Moody said. "Cars are complex machines, and nothing is worse than an expensive repair shortly after you drive the vehicle home."

These are only a few of the tips buyers should keep in mind as they search for their next vehicle. Whether you're planning to buy a new truck for off-roading or a used automobile to upgrade with various truck mods, you can zero in on great opportunities with just a bit of helpful advice.