Interested in buying a car but intimidated by the smiling used car salesman? Here’s the good news; if you’re in the market to buy a car, you actually have the upper hand. As long as you employ the proper car lot protocol, you can get what you want without getting the short end of the deal. Here are a few tactics you can use to get more bang for your buck.
Step 1: Get pre-approved by your bank. Car lots know how to get your attention. They have open hoods, balloons blowing in the wind, and that big marquee that screams, “SALE!” However, until you know what you can afford to spend, you shouldn’t step foot onto any car lot. Once they get you there, they’ll try to talk you into buying the car right then and there with their lenders and that spells “trouble” – high-interest loans designed to lure in the unsuspecting car buyer who has been ambushed by a slick sale.
Step 2: Your budget is none of the salesman’s business. One of the first questions the car dealer will ask is how much you can afford. It’s none of his business. This is his way of prequalifying you so that he can earn the highest commission possible. Remember, the less you reveal in terms of financial matters, the more likely you’ll be able to strike a bargain that works in your favor.
Step 3: Don’t get tempted by features you don’t need. While there are a lot of bells and whistles that seem pretty cool, they will also add hundreds or thousands of extra dollars to the total cost of the sale, and you’ll feel the pinch in your budget when you make that car payment each month.
Step 4: Keep a poker face. As soon as you show too much enthusiasm for a particular vehicle, you become putty in the hands of a car dealer. He knows just what to do to tap into the emotional aspect of closing a sale, so be prepared to walk away – and make that clear – if you do not get what you need.
Step 5: Get the vehicle checked out by a mechanic prior to the sale. Be sure to take the vehicle to a certified mechanic of your choice before you commit to the sale. Some dealerships use tricks – such as adding sawdust to keep the transmission running – to fool consumers into buying a lemon. That’s why you want to have it thoroughly checked out prior to the sale.
Step 6: Avoid unnecessary warranties. Steer clear of unnecessary warranties. Automobile dealerships earn a nice commission when they talk you into buying one. There’s no need to get “taken” when you buy a car with an unnecessary auto warranty. Your money could be better spent by putting it aside in a savings account for emergency repairs.
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