5 Tips to Help You Outwit the Dealer When You Buy a New Car

If you’re planning to buy a new car soon, then it’s a good idea to be well-informed before doing so. After all, you have probably already done all of the research you can about the car that you’re interested including the make, model, trim level, and the color that you want the most, but have you thought about the car’s pricing and how you’re going to act when you’re sitting in front of the salesperson?

It’s the little things that can make a big difference when you’re making a car deal, and luckily, Everyman Driver put together an extensive list of tips that will empower you to outwit and outsmart the dealership next time you buy a car. Here are five of the most prominent tips.

Don’t buy based on your monthly payment

Just to clear things up: If you are planning to lease a new car, then definitely pay attention to the monthly payment portion of the deal because you’re only paying for part of the overall cost of the car and you are more-than-likely going to trade it in or return at the end of the lease term anyway. That being said, if you’re planning on financing the car, then pay the most attention to the total price of the car, as opposed to just the monthly payment.

For example, while a $200 per month payment for a Honda Civic might sound great, it’s not so great if that payment is stretched out over a 72 month period and you need to put $4,000 down to get to it. Case in point, a bad deal is a bad deal no matter how many ways you divvy it up, so negotiate the total price on the car if you’re financing it and make sure that the monthly payment is an amount that you can afford.

Buy a car online or from the Internet Sales department

If you’re in the market for a used car and want to outsmart a traditional dealership altogether, then check out sites like Carvana or Carmax to find your next car. With no-hassle, no-haggle policies for both places, you can rest assured that you won’t have to deal with any of the games or pressure that you might get from a traditional dealer.

However, if you’re planning to buy a new or used car from a regular dealer, then make an appointment with someone from Internet sales so that you get the lowest price possible and more efficient service.

a car dealer shakes hands with clients.
A car salesman handing over the key. | (Photo by Yavuz Arslan/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Don’t make the first offer during negotiations

If and when you do find yourself sitting across the desk from a car salesperson, remember that silence is useful when it comes to negotiating. When going over the car’s pricing, you might be tempted to immediately throw out your lowball offer in order to cut to the chase, but remember, the car salesperson wants to keep as much money as possible in the deal, so they’re going to only discount the car by hundreds, not thousands. In that case, let them make the offer first and then whittle the price down from there. If they’re only going to give you an inch, then you should only give them an inch.

Buying New Vehicle
A car salesperson goes over pricing details with a customer. | (Photo by Jim R. Bounds/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Buying a used car? Get it checked out first

If you do plan to buy a used car from a traditional dealership, then make sure to get the car checked out by a third-party mechanic. While dealership always reconditions their used cars when they get them, it’s possible that may have cut some corners to save money along the way, so it’s a good idea to have another professional look at the car to make sure that everything checks out and you won’t be left with issues in the near future. Most mechanics will charge anywhere from $100 to $200 for the inspection, but that money spent could save you thousands later on.

A man servicing a truck by changing the oil.
A man changing the oil on a vehicle | Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

How to Pick the Best Car Dealership to Buy a New Car

Get an auto insurance quote beforehand

This tip is usually completely overlooked when consumers start their car-shopping process, but it’s almost as important as buying the car itself. We say this because you need to provide proof of insurance whenever you buy a car, so it’s a good idea to shop for insurance beforehand; not only to ensure that you have it but also to ensure that you can afford it for the car that you’re buying. Most consumers forget that buying a newer car could mean a higher insurance payment, so be sure to get a quote before going to the dealership.