Most people purchase a car by taking out a loan. If you have a loan, ensure the dealership pays off your old auto loan before the sale closes.
Never negotiate based on monthly payments. Dealers like those at Turner Kia will move around other variables to hit your payment target, and you’ll pay more than you wanted.
Know What You Want
Knowing what you want is the best way to avoid getting ripped off at a dealership. That’s easier than ever, thanks to the internet and smartphone apps.
You can use online tools to price cars before you head to the dealer. You can also request a vehicle history report to tell you how much wear and tear a car has had.
Always focus on the “out-the-door” price – MSRP plus taxes and fees when negotiating. Don’t mention your trade-in or that you need financing until you have negotiated the lowest overall price. This will give the dealer the impression that you’re a serious buyer. They may be more likely to negotiate from there. Also, be wary of extras and add-ons.
Do Your Research
Whether buying new or used, it pays to come to the table with as much information as possible. This includes knowing how much you can afford, the value of your current vehicle (if applicable) and a full history report for any vehicle on the lot.
Getting preapproved for a loan is also smart before going to the dealership or even meeting with a private seller. This way, you can be confident in the monthly payment that your bank will offer, which gives you more negotiating power.
Don’t mention a trade-in or financing until you’ve negotiated the lowest overall car price. This will encourage the dealer to hold firm on their lowest prices.
Get Preapproved for a Loan
Getting preapproved for a loan is a great way to save time and money during car-buying. It can help you narrow your search down to vehicles within your budget and allows you to focus solely on finding a vehicle that meets your needs.
Many dealerships will push their financing on buyers and often offer higher rates than you can get with a third-party lender. Having your preapproval in hand can help you avoid these dealer add-ons and negotiate a better rate on the car itself.
Dealerships can also try to sell you extra options like paint and fabric protection, rust-proofing, extra security systems, extended warranties, and other expensive “add-ons.” Be sure to ask for your monthly payments with and without these added features.
Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate
You can negotiate a car purchase over various things, but it’s important to focus on the price. Start negotiations by asking the dealer for the vehicle’s total price, including all fees and taxes. It’s also helpful to compare prices online before visiting a dealership.
Avoid negotiating around monthly payments, which gives the dealer too much room to manipulate figures. Instead, politely ask them what the out-the-door price is.
It would help if you were firm when rejecting add-ons, like fancy technology packages, interior upgrades, and extended warranties. Many of these extras aren’t necessary and can be purchased elsewhere, such as through lenders or insurers, for lower prices. You can even save money by skipping these products and purchasing them later.
Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away
The dealership holds all the cards in a car transaction, but that doesn’t mean you can’t walk away. Many shoppers won’t do so because they don’t want to embarrass the salesperson they’ve become friendly with or fear losing a few hours of their time. However, a moment of embarrassment or loss of a few hours pales compared to the cost of a vehicle you can’t afford to pay for.
To avoid this, say that you won’t buy the car at a price above your worst-case figure and give them your contact information so they can call you if they can agree on a price. Also, be sure to ask them what their worst-case price is so you can compare it to yours.