The Ultimate Guide to Car Dealership Negotiations

So you’ve finally tracked down the perfect car. Now comes the hard part: negotiating the price. Buying from a car dealership can be a serious ordeal. You may have to navigate pushy salesmen, nickel-and-diming, and overinflated prices. But you don’t have to let yourself get taken advantage of. There are several things you can do to help you negotiate for the best price. You don’t have to go into negotiations powerless. Here are some tips to level the playing field.


Set Your Budget-And Stick To It

Before you go shopping for a car, decide how much you can afford to pay for a new car. Set your budget before you even set foot on a car dealership. Be aware that the salesperson might try to squeeze every extra penny out of you that they can. They’ll try to offer extra features like leather seats or satellite radio to get you to pay more. Don’t fall for it. Set your top dollar, and refuse to go over it-no matter how much they try to sweeten the deal to make you pay more.


Know What You’re Buying

In order to know if you’re paying a fair price for a car, then you need to know what the car is actually worth. This is a lot more than just knowing the year, make, and model. Dozens of factors can affect the overall price of a car, including:

·        miles on the odometer;

·        condition of the body;

·        repair history;

·        custom additions;

·        limited features.

There are several ways you can determine the worth of your vehicle of choice. One of the most reliable is the Kelley Blue Book. The KBB website has an online tool where you can input the year, make, model, condition, and mileage of a vehicle to calculate an accurate price range. If you have access to the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), you can order a vehicle report history from CarFax. This will show a history of all of the previous owners, as well as any repairs that have been done on it. A single report is around $40, but that’s a small price to pay when compared to the money you could lose if you buy a lemon.


Look At the Whole Picture

When you’re talking about financing a car, there are a lot of numbers swirling around. But in the middle of negotiations with a salesperson, they might try to distract you by focusing on the monthly payment. They’ll try to fix your attention on how little you’ll be paying each month. But if you’re not careful, you could find yourself paying agreeing to a high-interest loan over several years. That low, low payment can add up to an incredibly inflated total cost. Especially after you factor in fees and taxes. Never lose sight of the total price. Whenever the salesperson throws out a monthly payment, calculate the overall cost. Never agree to a monthly payment that takes you above your budget!


Avoid Costly Add-ons 

A lot has changed since the first automobiles rolled onto the streets. Those early cars were little more than unadorned carts on wheels. The thought of a car stereo would be foreign to early drivers, let alone a cup holder. Now, there are all sorts of add-ons that can turn a car into a luxury road-cruiser, from heated seats to infotainment consoles. However, these luxurious add-ons can add up.  That leather interior might seem like the height of class, but you might have to settle for a car in worse condition if you want to stay in your budget. When you’re shopping at a car dealership, the salesperson will try to add extra features to sweeten the deal – and raise your price. Resist this temptation; in a few months, you’ll forget heated seats were ever an option.


Timing Matters 

What time of year are you shopping for a car? It might sound surprising, but that can matter a lot. Car salesmen often have regular goals and quotas that they have to hit. And if they haven’t hit those goals that month or quarter, they’ll be a lot more inclined to accept a lower offer. Additionally, car dealerships need to pay taxes on inventory left through the fiscal year. If you go to a dealership toward the end of the year, you could end up saving thousands of dollars.


Remember It’s Not the Only Car Dealership in Town

So you’ve done your homework, resisted additional add-ons, and stuck to your budget. And yet, the salesperson refuses to budge. Just walk away. You may have your heart set on this car in particular. But this isn’t the only car on the market. And this isn’t the only dealer. If this dealership won’t play your rules, you can go to another one that will. Besides, many dealers get motivated at the sign of your leaving. Your exit might give them a sudden change of heart.


Worried About a Lemon?

Getting a great deal on a great car at a car dealership can be an absolute thrill. But if that car turns out to be a lemon, that thrill can turn into a nightmare. But never fear: you can protect yourself  by purchasing a Lemon Proof Contract. For more information about how our Lemon Proof Contract, check out our FAQ.