Car shopping often feels like a Herculean effort. The process reminds people that they might not know as much as they’d like about vehicles, or they may feel that they are setting themselves up for disaster. If you are aware of these things when you go to buy a car, you can be sure you will get a good price.
Before you set foot into a dealership, do some research online. Check nearby dealership’s websites and record their listed price on the vehicle you want, as well as any special deals they might be offering. Having this information at your disposal will be a valuable asset when it comes time to negotiate with a salesman.
Be aggressive and assertive. You will inevitably end up negotiating the price of your vehicle, so don’t be afraid to push a little. Be prepared to walk away from the dealership if you aren’t making progress. Leave the offer alone for a day or two, and then contact the salesman again. If they know that you are willing to walk away, they will be more likely to accept your offer or to counter-offer with a more reasonable price.
If the price of a car is non-negotiable, see if you can negotiate on other terms. Some dealerships will agree to provide several months’ worth of free gasoline or a year of free oil changes, for instance. It never hurts to ask if a salesman can sweeten the deal.
If you are trading your car in, take it to a detail shop and have the upholstery and carpets cleaned along with a wash and wax. Doing this one thing can usually net you several hundred dollars or more in trade-in value compared to a car that isn’t clean.
Bring a spare set of keys with you to the dealership. When they ask for the keys to your trade in, give them the spare. Some dealerships will use your car keys to hold you hostage if a deal is not made. You want to avoid this, so make sure you have the ability to walk out of the dealership at any time without having to ask for your keys.
Be firm in what extras you want. Almost every salesperson is going to at least attempt to “upsell” you in an effort to get a bigger sale. Don’t let them pressure you into the next model up or features you don’t need. If they claim not to have the model you are looking for in stock, only the “better” one, ask if they can locate one at another dealer.
Understand the financing office. Most dealerships make the bulk of their money in the financing office. Your interest rate, extended warranties and other add ons are all sold at a premium once you are in there. Understand this, and select any of those options carefully. Most are not necessary for the average car owner.
You should now be prepared to purchase the car of your dreams. Simplify the process by using these ideas the next time you shop for a vehicle. You will feel better about your car when you pay a good price for it!