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Don’t Make These Mistakes the Next Time You Buy a Car

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Buying a car should be a positive experience. Walking into a dealership unprepared is like crossing the freeway blindfolded. Automobile dealers are in business to make a profit. They accomplish this by anticipating the needs of their customers and providing solutions. The in-house financing dealers provide is just one example.

The sales staff works hard to earn an honest living and they have the experience that many potential buyers do not. They should know exactly how to put your concerns at rest and answer any and all questions. But if they don’t, knowing what to expect before walking into the dealership will help you avoid any surprises.


If you want to know how much your trade-in is really worth, then bring it up after negotiating. It is a common practice to “show” more trade allowance by including some of the discount as trade-in value. This is why the sales representative asks about it up front. Try negotiating the price on a first visit to the dealer. Then on a second visit, you can tell them your plans to trade in your current vehicle.


When buyers have limited knowledge about financing, a dealership may lead them to believe that their only option is to use their in-house financing. You are free to get your vehicle financed anywhere you can qualify, or if possible, pay cash. Talk to your bank before you visit the dealer to find out what the interest rates are and what you can afford. But keep in mind if your credit is less than ideal and you don’t have the cash, you may not qualify for a loan from the bank. At that time in-house financing is usually the best option to get you into a car.


Research the extras before shopping. Decide what is necessary. If you are the kind of driver who believes in upholstery protection, then you are probably careful enough to keep the seats clean without it. What about an extended warranty? Or VIN (vehicle identification number) etching? Being aware of the situation and necessary or unnecessary options help you stay in control.

Know what you want before you arrive. The person asking the questions dominates any conversation. The nature of the business demands that the sales representative ask many questions. Some forethought prepares you to give advantageous responses.