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

Although dealerships nationwide are switching to more of an online approach to selling cars, buying a new car nowadays can still be a daunting process. Aside from the usual hassle of having to go down to the dealer and test drive the car and awkward drink the sub-par coffee while the salesperson talks to the manager, you have to get through the first step of finding the car that you want and then finding the right dealership to business with. Here’s how to pick the best dealership to buy a new car from.

Find the right car first

The first step to your new-car shopping process is typically to find the right car first. You can do this by going onto sites like Autotrader or Cargurus and finding out which car would suit you best. Make sure to research the different trim levels, options, and colors for the car that you’re interested in so that you can nail down exactly what it is that you want.

A person doing car buying research on their laptop.
Car research | Joseph Branston/Future via Getty Images

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Your Auto Advocate

After you find the right car for you, you need to find the right dealership to buy it from. We normally recommend finding the three closest dealerships to you and e-mailing each of them to get the Internet pricing for the same car and then going with the one with the lowest pricing.

However, we recently discovered a website called Your Auto Advocate, which was created by a father and son team (Ray and Zach) who have been in the car business for decades.

On their website, they have created a “Market Price Report” tool in which you can copy and paste the VIN of any new car into the tool and get a pricing report with some pertinent information including how long the car has been on the lot, a negotiability score for that car, and the suggested offer that you should make to the dealer.

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Here is a Honda CR-V as an example

To try out the Market Price Report tool, we found a 2020 Honda CR-V at one of our local Honda dealerships and copy and pasted its VIN into the tool. It generated the report very quickly and showed us that the car has been on the lot for 266 days, while the local average time is 144 days. It also shows a graph of how much the price has dropped since it first arrived on the lot as well as a “negotiability score” of 75 out of 100.

Market Price Tool on
Market Price Tool on | Your Auto Advocate

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For reference, the higher the negotiability score, the more likely the dealer is to negotiate the price with you. And lastly, it also shows a suggested price that we should offer to any dealer, in order to get the best price possible, as well as similar CR-V listings from other dealers in the area so that we can see what other CR-Vs that dealers have and their corresponding prices.

Narrow down your search

What we like best about Your Auto Advocate’s pricing tool is that it gives you the leverage you need in order to not only pick the right dealership with the car, but to also ensure that you get the best price possible for that car.

Just remember, after you find the right car, the right dealer, and know what the right price is, e-mail more than just one dealer to really make sure that you’re getting exactly what you want. Fortunately, it can all be done in a matter of minutes.