Buy-a-Car Tips

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Buy a Car - Getting to Know The Dealer

    
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
When buying a new car, there isn’t much opportunity for the dealer to rip you off.  There are things to look out for, but the used car dealer can be shady, unscrupulous, even dishonest, so it is best to take care and be prepared before you ever step on the lot.  We will mention some of the pitfalls of buying a new car in a later article, but for now let’s concentrate on the most vulnerable scenario – the used car lot.

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The best time to shop for a used car is definitely during daylight hours, and if it’s a nice sunny day as well that’s even better.  Daylight will ensure that you are able to look at the entire vehicle, inside and out, so that any visible flaws are noticed immediately.  If there are any visible defects in the automobile, sometimes dealers will intentionally divert your attention to the finer points of the car so that you are less likely to notice that there is a defect.  You don’t want to be showing off the car and driving around with a friend later that day only to find out that there is a large hole on the passenger-side floorboard!  Trying to buy a good, reliable, previously owned automobile when it is dark, raining or both is just a bad idea.

Now, you’re on the lot, and you see a few decent candidates for your next ride, when suddenly a cheerful salesman is at your side, chattering on about this car and that, and how much he wants to help you out.  Be courteous, but be cautious as well.  You might be on a lot where the dealers are fairly honest, however you won’t know that at first. This guy can be your friend or your worst enemy.  He’s likely to suggest a car that’s “just right for you”, as if he’s known you all your life.  If he does, it’s possible that he really thinks he knows what car might be good for you, and it’s also possible that he’s been trying to dump that lemon for weeks now.  Try and get to know the salesman a little, see if you can get him to discuss something other than cars for a few seconds.  It’s amazing how much you can find out about a person in just a couple of minutes. The more you feel like you are on common ground, the better your chances of sizing the salesman up. An added benefit to doing this is that he might “loosen up” a bit which could increase your chances of getting a good deal.  Once you feel comfortable talking to the salesman, you, too, will be better able to leverage the situation in your favor.

 

If the friendly salesman has suggested this vehicle or that, you have the option to oblige him or not.  Don’t feel pressured to just look at the ones he wants you to. Remember, there may be a reason he’s talking up that old Honda Civic with no dents and low mileage.  That same car might have a serious problem that won’t show up until he’s gone to the bank with your hard-earned bucks.  Often, you will get a gut feeling that something isn’t quite right.  Try to read the salesman, to get familiar with the way he speaks and gestures.  See if you can get a feel for his body language and signals. Just doing that can be a tremendous help in making sure that YOU come out on the top of this deal.

Getting comfortable with the dealer is an important part of the car-buying process.  You are far more likely to make good decisions when you feel like you are in control, so take the time to get to know your salesman.  Part of his job is to try and pressure you, and now that you know this you will be able to use it to your advantage.  As a final note, remember that being in control is very important when shopping for used cars.

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