What Used Car Dealers Won’t Tell You

author avatarPaul Hadley
30th September, 2019
Filed under Car Topics

Buying a used car can be a perplexing process. First, you have to figure out your budget and all the car models that fall under it. Then you have to do some research and find reasonable deals in your area, and finally visit the dealers. This is where you’ll either walk away with deal or a mistake you’ll regret for months to come.

It is important to arm yourself with knowledge on the things to consider when buying a used car, to ensure you walk out of the dealership with a great deal. In this article, we’ll be guiding you exactly about what used car dealerships won’t tell you. When shopping for a used car, always visit at least a few used car dealerships and look for a used car dealership list like this one.

Drawing Out the Negotiation Process

Some crafty car salesman will use time against you, and draw out the price negotiation process as much as they can, until you’re tired and just want to get over it. In situations like these, it’s important to take charge of the conversation by showing the salesman that you have a plan.

Say something like, “I’m going to take a test drive today. If I’m satisfied, I’ll come back tomorrow and talk numbers”.

Be confident throughout the process. Try saying “Give me your best price”, and let the salesman do the heavy lifting with management. Tell him your price range and to text or email you once he’s convinced his manager.

Don’t Announce How Much You’re Willing to Spend

Starting your discussion by stating how much you’re willing to spend is a bad way to start. It leaves you vulnerable as the salesman will have some that fits your budget exactly, but not something better you could’ve gotten with a bit of negotiation.

Tell them you’ll discuss numbers later, and are just looking at the car models you’re interested in. Choose the car you want first, take it for a test drive and judge whether it’s right for you or not.

This way, you stay in charge of the purchase process and don’t let the salesman skew it with the sole intention of maximizing profit.

The Pressure Tactics

Pressure tactics are common in sales, and car salesmen are particularly good at them. Oftentimes you’ll hear, “If you don’t buy this car today, it’s probably going to sell tomorrow as another party is coming to look at it”.

This is a sales tactic known as the ‘impending event’. The used car salesman puts the pressure on you, the buyer, to make a hasty decision as the product won’t be available for long.

However, it’s important to maintain your calm in this situation. Simply tell the buyer that you’re looking at the same model at other dealerships, and you can buy it at another place if it becomes unavailable.

Pay with Cash, If Possible

Saving up a lump of money for a car purchase might seem like a tall order, but it’s worth it. Firstly, it’ll help you secure a great deal with a much lower price if you pay by cash. Financing options for used cars tend to have a higher APR, which means you’ll be paying more interest compared to if you bought a new car.

Plus, if you buy the car outright with cash it’s going to come under your ownership from day one.

Arrange Your Own Financing

If paying by cash isn’t an option for you, but you still need a car, skip dealership financing and look around for financing on your own. The dealership financing option might be tempting as it means you don’t have to do any work yourself, but it’s also likely not going to be the best rate.

Save money by looking for the best financing options available to you, and it’s going to make it clear to you how much you’ll be spending keeping in mind your budget.

Consider a Standard Transmission

Most North American car buyers prefer automatic transmissions in their cars. You can use this fact to your advantage and get a great deal on a car with manual or standard transmission. Used car dealers will have a much harder time selling cars like these, so you can really bring this up during negotiating to bring down the price even further.

Rent Before You Buy

If you’re buying a used car that’s only a year or two old, it might be a good idea to rent the same model instead of taking a test drive. This might seem like a step too far, but remember that a car is supposed to be a long term investment, so you definitely want a vehicle that’ll suit your driving needs.

Shop at Larger Dealerships

Larger dealerships have a bigger inventory to move, so the salesmen have more incentive to sell what they have at a lower price than a smaller dealership. Plus, popular dealerships are probably doing good when it comes to business so they’re willing to let the profit per car go down in favor of shifting more volume.

There’s No Thing Such as Non-Negotiable

A used car dealership’s ideal customer is one who doesn’t haggle, make sure that isn’t you. Even if the salesman tries to convince you that the cars will be sold at the listed price, don’t hesitate to negotiate price for a car that you like.

Don’t Negotiate at the Salesman’s Desk

This is a psychological trick some car salesmen will use to get more money out of you. If you negotiate while the salesman is sitting at his desk in the office, you’re likely to pay more money as the salesman will appear in a position of power.

To neutralize this, negotiate at a location you feel comfortable and at a level playing field, such as beside the car you want to buy.

Final Thoughts

Just because you’re buying a used vehicle doesn’t mean you should take the matter lightly. It’s still going to cost you a significant amount of money, so you want the best deal you can possibly get. Used car dealerships can be one way of getting a great deal, but you have to go with the right mindset, equipped with the right knowledge to make sure that happens.

author avatar Written by Paul Hadley

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