Dealing with auto dealers can be the most daunting and frustrating part of buying a vehicle. Here are seven things you can do to tilt the playing field in your favor and help you get the most auto for your money.
1. Get your financing first:
Smart buyers get their auto financing before setting foot on the lot. This way, you know exactly how much you have to spend. You also avoid the dealership’s high pressure finance
2. Check the calendar:
Dealerships keep track of sales on a monthly basis. This means you can often get a better deal at the end of the month when they want to thin their inventory to bring in new stock. If you can find a vehicle that’s been on the lot for three months, you may be able to get a sizable discount because it is eating into the dealer’s profit. There are also special closeout offers at the end of the model year, so be on the lookout for these if you are considering buying new.
3. Don’t pay for what you don’t want:
Don’t pay for expensive options and upgrades you can’t afford just because the dealer has a car on the lot that is “almost” what you want but has a few extra bells and whistles. And don’t be talked into expensive extras like rust proofing, pin striping or upholstery protection that come at marked-up prices.
4. Walk away if you feel pressured:
If you feel like you’re being pressured, don’t be afraid to leave. Don’t let the sales person stress you out about a great deal that you have to snap up NOW! Don’t fret about hurting the salesperson’s feelings; he can handle rejection. And besides, he’s not the one who has to drive the vehicle and make the payments.
5. Research your warranty options:
Most new vehicles come with decent warranties. But if you buy a used car and want to get an extended warranty, you don’t have to get it from the dealership. You can shop for a warranty online at a host of reputable sites. Print out a copy of the best deal you find and take it with you to the dealer. See if they’ll match the price.
6. Understand what you’re signing:
Double-check the language and all the figures in the contract before you sign. Ask questions until you understand all the charges. If you are confused or have second thoughts about the deal, don’t sign. Remember, the federal cooling off law does not apply to vehicles. There is no 72-hour right-to-cancel on your loan.
7. If life hands you a lemon, hand it back:
If your new car, truck or SUV turns out to be a lemon, most states have Lemon Laws requiring the dealership to fix the problem or refund your money. But remember, Lemon Laws do not apply to used vehicles. And no matter what happens with the vehicle, you are still responsible for paying back the loan.