Dealership Tips

What to know before entering the car dealership.

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Before entering a dealership, have a clear understanding of your financial situation, and what you plan to spend.

Now it is time to put those calculations to work before visiting your dealership. Have those figures! You must know how far you can go (how much you can afford) when negotiating a car at the dealership. Remember that a long-term car loan contract may mean smaller monthly payments than a short-term finance contract, but you it will end up costing your more over time. (Find out, beforehand, the cost of your car insurance. It’s an extra cost to be factored into your budget.)

Have your credit report in hand. Any mistake or lack of accuracy may lead to disappointments when applying for credit. Generally, you will be able to get a lower rate if you have paid your bills when due. You have a right to dispute wrong information in your report, and you should do that before you apply for a car loan or a lease. All I am trying to do here is save you time.

Online Car ShoppingBefore going to the dealership, make sure you have spent some time browsing through the internet for car deals. You also have your local newspaper ads car guides on supermarkets, etc. Make sure are fully aware of the average price for the vehicle you are searching for, and any other information related to that car. Dealerships have their own websites as well. Those sites usually offer you a chance to look at what they have in stock. This is a great way to keep you from wasting your time. Don’t look at just one dealership online for the brand you have chosen. Usually they have plenty of locations.

Do you intend on trading in your old car? If yes, then you must research the current value of your car before you can negotiate a deal on a new car. And, make sure you know how much you still owe, if anything, on your current car loan. If your current car’s value is less than what you still owe, you might want to pay down the debt.

Compare APRs and financing terms from several sources, such as banks, credit unions, finance companies, and dealerships. Shop for information about current offers online. Be aware of certain restrictions on offers that look too good to be true. Read the small print!

leasing vs buyingKnow the difference between buying and leasing a vehicle.

Refer to our What is a Lease page to page to understand the ins-and-outs of a lease.

Things to keep in Mind at the Dealership:

  1. Stay within your price range! Don’t dream too big. Be realistic
  2. Negotiate both car price and your car loan (or lease) terms.

At the dealership you will probably be offered a number of services, which will come with an extra cost to you, and of course they will make it seem completely necessary and worth your while. Remember: They make commissions on these services, so don’t be too gullible. Understand what are these extra services and/or products that you’re being offered. If you don’t need them, don’t buy them. And make sure they are not already included in your car loan contract.

Read the entire contract carefully and ask ANY questions before you sign. Remember, once you sign, you are legally bound to that loan or lease contract. It’ll be harder to change any details once you’ve already signed it.