Tips for Holding Your Own at the Car Dealership


Just because you’ve haggled at a few yard sales doesn’t mean you’re ready to take on a car salesman. I wouldn’t blame you for being a little intimidated about putting in an appearance at your local dealership, but seeing how it’s something we all have to deal with at one time or another, you’d best come prepared.

The Internet has completely changed the way we shop for cars – at least, up to a point. It’s now possible to do fairly exhaustive research on makes, models, features, and financing options from the comfort of your own home. In fact, about 90% of car buyers do some kind of research before heading to the dealer.

But while they may be informed about the cars they’re interested in, a great deal fewer people are informed about dealer tactics – or the importance of negotiation.

Know How (And What) To Negotiate

Negotiation is certainly an important skill to have. The problem is that most people know why it’s important, but don’t know exactly what they can actually negotiate about when it comes to buying a car.

One thing you’ll want to look out for is the dealership’s tendency to “bundle” each and every automotive expense together. They either do this as a matter of policy or because they want to convince you that they’re doing you a favor.

The truth is, you’re well within your rights to negotiate separately on the sticker price, the down payment, and the trade-in value of your old car. You might be surprised at the savings.

Ask About Fees You Don’t Understand

When you get right down to it, getting a great deal – or at least a favorable one – at the dealership is about little more than knowing which questions to ask. This is particularly important when it comes to the fine print in the buyer agreement and the invoice.

If you’re used to clicking past the Terms of Service for your software and social media sites, you’ll want to slow down at the dealership.

Common fees and add-ons tend to incorporate phrases like “dealer mark-up” or “dealer prep.” These markups should be easy to spot on the invoice and even easier to ask about. You can negotiate on these items to your heart’s content, and the mere fact that you knew to ask about them might earn you some points.

Shop With Confidence

If you want a more exhaustive guide on how to shop with confidence at the dealership, you might want to check out this infographic video. It has a few other tips and tricks that you’ll want to know about before your next car purchase.

But maybe the most valuable “insider secret” you need is simply a reminder to shop with confidence and ask plenty of questions.

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