7 Car-Buying Truths a Car Salesperson Won’t Tell You

There are many different facets of the car-buying experience that goes beyond finding a car, test-driving it, and then making a purchase. Most customers will never know what goes on behind the other side of the sales desk. Apparently, there’s a lot to know. Here are seven car-buying truths that a car salesperson won’t tell you.

1. The best time to buy a car is at the end of the month

A customer looks over a car on the dealer lot.
A customer looks over a car on the dealer lot. | Getty Images/Bob Riha, Jr.

This one could be common knowledge by now, but the best time to shop for a car is at the end of the month. Salespeople, and the dealerships they work for, need to sell as many cars as possible in any given month. In that case, if you shop within the last two weeks of the month, the salespeople will likely cut you a better deal to move their inventory.

2. Everyone thinks that their trade-in is worth more

A salesperson talks to a customer.
A salesperson talks to a customer. | Tina Fritzinger; Rick Fritzinger; Howard Marfell

Every customer wants to pay as little as possible for a new car and get as much money as possible for the car they’re trading. It only seems logical, right? It is.

But the only tough part for the salesperson is that everyone thinks their trade-in is worth more money than it actually is. Many customers overlook the scratches, the maintenance repairs needed, and even the vehicle’s history when trading in a car. The dealers take those things into account, in addition to the reconditioning costs to fix the car, when giving you an appraisal – so it could be lower than expected.

3. Never pay for VIN etching

The dealer will indeed try to make more money by selling extra products. But one product that you should never pay for is VIN etching. This is when the car’s vehicle identification number is laser-etched into the car’s windows. Truth be told, it’s not really worth it.

4. Get educated before shopping

We have said it before, and we’ll say it again; do as much research as possible before stepping into a dealership. Family Handyman states, “Study the price of the car you like and have your financing lined up. If you walk in with nothing, you’re not a customer; you’re a victim.”

5. You may be more likely to buy a car from an attractive salesperson

A salesman shows a customer a new car.
A salesman shows a customer a new car. | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

It’s true that attractive people are more likely to drive certain cars, but it’s also true that attractive people can sell more cars. Are you smitten with the good-looking salesperson that’s helping you out? Focus on the task at hand, or you might end up paying more than necessary.

6. Don’t come on the weekend if you just want to test drive cars

Are you planning to test drive a few different cars in the name of research? In that case, go to the dealership during the week. A Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon is a good time as most dealers aren’t as busy then.

7. Once you have agreed on a price, the sales process isn’t over yet

A salesperson talks to a customer.
A salesperson talks to a customer. | J. Conrad Williams Jr./Newsday RM via Getty Images

You have picked a car, agreed on its selling price, and shook hands with the salesperson, but the sale process isn’t over yet. You still have to meet with the finance manager, who will try to sell you on extended warranties and other products that you don’t need. Remember to remain vigilant until you’re driving your new car off the lot.

Car-buying truths

There are plenty of factors that go into the car-buying process that the dealer may not tell you about. Keep these seven truths in mind the next time you buy a car to refrain from paying too much.

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