Save Money With Tips for Negotiating With a Car Dealer, According to U.S. News

Very few people enjoy the car buying process of haggling with a car dealership. It can be frustrating, stressful, and awkward. However, if you’re adequately armed with information, you can head to a car dealership in a calmer state of mind, along with a greater ability to get a lower price on a car. With these tips from U.S. News and World Report, you can save money when negotiating with a car dealer.

What are some tips for negotiating a car deal?

Car salesperson and customer at car dealership | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

U.S. News provides 13 helpful tips for negotiating with a car dealer. Save money with these negotiation tips:

  1. Knowledge is power
  2. Remember, it’s a business transaction
  3. Don’t focus on the payment
  4. Know what you can and can’t negotiate
  5. Know the deals
  6. Have pre-approved financing before you shop
  7. Separate the trade-in
  8. Shop at multiple dealerships — online
  9. Timing it right can save you money
  10. Negotiate the price first
  11. Avoid costly extras
  12. Read the fine print
  13. Be prepared to walk away

Gain information to get a good deal at a car dealership

Sales stickers on a cars at dealership, highlighting negotiating tips to save money at a car dealer
Cars parked at a car dealership | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Many of the money-saving negotiation tips that U.S. News provides relate to the first tip: “Knowledge is power.” With the ability to quickly do some research on the internet, you can head to a car dealership with confidence and improve your chances of saving money. Find out information on such things as car dealer inventories, sales offers, and trade-in values. 

Also, you can shop online at multiple dealerships. If a car salesperson tries to sell you a car at a price that you know that’s too high, you can say that you’re aware of a lower price at another dealership. After that, ask if the car salesperson can match or offer an even lower price.

Save money by timing your car buying at the right time

As U.S. News points out, it’s rare that you can walk into a car dealership at the end of the day and score a good deal because car salespeople are desperate to strike a deal. This is mostly an urban legend.

However, you can save money at a car dealer by timing your car shopping in other ways. For example, when new model year cars arrive at a car dealership in the fall and beginning of the year, dealers are more likely to offer lower prices on previous model year cars to make room for the new inventory. Also, many car salespeople have monthly, quarterly, and annual sales goals. You might be able to get a better deal and save money if you head to a dealership at the end of a particular month, quarter, or year, as the car salespeople try to reach their sales goal. 

Try your best to remove emotion when negotiating with a car dealer

Another good money-saving negotiation tip from U.S News is to “remember, it’s a business transaction” when negotiating with a car dealer. You might experience a great deal of emotion and excitement when buying a car, especially when you have your heart set on a specific model. When negotiating, if things don’t go as planned or head in an unfavorable direction, it can be easy to experience stress — or even get angry.

However, if you want to get a good deal and not get taken advantage of by a car dealer, it is best to try to remove emotion. By not getting overwhelmed with emotion and objectively focussing on the business transaction, you’ll have a clearer head and make a wiser decision. 

Also, removing emotion relates to the last tip: “Be prepared to walk away.” Don’t get overwhelmed with emotion and let a car salesperson pressure you into making a purchase that makes you uncomfortable or is not what you truly want or need. Ultimately, it is the customer, not the car dealer, that holds most of the power, for a customer can always walk away.

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