Quick Tips for Saving Big at the Car Dealership

Not many people say that they enjoy taking a trip to the car dealership. Buying a new car, or new-to-you car can be exciting, but it can also be stressful. Add on the stress of a sales team, and all of the technical terms and additional costs and buying a car can be downright overwhelming. Even if you buy a vehicle entirely online, you still have to deal with negotiating and sales tactics to get a good deal. Car buying doesn’t have to break your budget, and if you know these easy tips, you could save a lot.

Know the car’s value

The most important part of buying a car is to know what the car is actually worth. This can be a strong negotiating tactic when it comes to getting the price lower, but it isn’t that easy. There are several factors to keep in mind when estimating the value of a car. The model year, trim level, mileage, and condition of the vehicle are some of the most significant factors that affect a car’s value.

Websites like Kelley Blue Book allow you to input all of this information and find what the fair market value for the car you are looking at is. No dealership should have a problem with you taking the vehicle you are looking at to a local mechanic, either. A quick inspection to verify the condition of the car can help save you a headache down the road, but also help you negotiate the price of the vehicle.

A line of cars at a used car dealership
Various cars sit in the lot for sale at a General Motors used car dealership | Photo by Bill Pugliano

Skip the add-ons

Once you’ve come to a final agreement on the price of the car, the negotiations don’t stop there. There are dozens of add-ons that can quickly add up on your final total, even putting thousands of dollars on to your only price. At the time, some of the additional packages seem like a great idea, and they sound like they will save you a lot of money down the road.

Selling things like the extended warranty are actually where a lot of car dealerships make a lot of their money. Chances are you will never even cash in on your extended warranty because whatever issue your car will have probably isn’t covered.

Buying New Vehicle
Customer works with sales manager | Jim R. Bounds/Bloomberg

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When car buying, be realistic

Sitting in a new car that you’re about to test drive can be overwhelming and exciting. As you go through the list of features, it seems like there is an endless amount of cool features that you have to have. This can lead us to buy higher trim levels adorned with expensive upgrades that won’t really be that useful months down the road. Sure, new tech and safety features can seem worth the money, but if you’re not the type of person who makes calls while driving, paying extra for the hands-free calling won’t end up paying off.

A customer looks at the sticker price | Tim Boyle

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At the end of the day, the key to getting a good deal at the car dealership is to stay informed and stay realistic. While these can be two very difficult things to do, there is no reason you can’t go back to buy the car another day. After all, when you’re spending that kind of money, the worst thing you can do for your wallet is to let yourself feel rushed.