Monday, March 17, 2014

What You Should Know Before Going to the Dealership (and Other Helpful Tips)

Dealership image #1

By, Mary Kremer

So, you’re thinking about buying a car. If you’re anything like me, the idea of going to a dealership, figuring out what you need, and then haggling with a salesperson until you know you’ve gotten the right price (which you may never actually know) is terrifying. Overwhelming. Horrifying. Pick your adjective. It just doesn’t sound fun.

As someone who knows very little about cars, I decided to do a little digging before actually attempting said horrifying/overwhelming/not-so-fun car dealership experience. I asked a few of my friends if they knew a car salesperson or someone knowledgeable in cars who could answer my questions. One of my friends knew the owner of RC Auto, a dealership in Salt Lake City. He was kind enough to sit with me for a few minutes, and these are the tips I gleaned from the conversation:

Tip #1: Know the price range of the car you’re after

Do a little research beforehand and know the price range of the car you’d like. Check out Blue Book or CarFax to get an accurate price range. Make, model, and year will really give you a specific price range. If the dealership’s offer on a similar car is out of the general price range, you’ll know something’s wrong.

Tip #2: Know the dealer’s reputation

The internet is a wonderful thing. Look up reviews of the dealership you’re interested in. Ask around. Know their reputation. And ultimately, if you go to a dealer and just feel icky, don’t buy from them. A good dealer knows how important it is to gain your trust.

Dealership image #2Tip #3: Avoid upsales

Some upsales, like GAP insurance, really are a good idea. Other upsales, like VIN Etching, may not be so useful (or as expensive as you may be led to believe). VIN Etching costs around $10-20 to complete, but some dealerships may up that charge to $200-300. In both cases, these upsales are optional. So don’t let a salesperson convince you they’re mandatory or a legal requirement. Pick the upsales you think are useful, and pass on the rest.

Tip #4: Take the car to a mechanic you trust

All dealerships are required to have basic maintenance and safety and emissions checks on their vehicles. But, if you’re unsure about the history or stability of the car, take it to a mechanic you trust before you consider buying.

Tip #5: Wait a day before deciding

This was the best advice I got from this encounter. What kind of salesperson will tell you to wait a day and think about it? A good one. Most salespeople (especially the dreaded “closers”) will try to pressure you into buying a car the first time you come in. Don’t. Take a day or two to think about your decision, even if you’re already pretty sure. A car is a big purchase, so take your time. If you feel overly pressured by a dealer to make a purchase, you may want to take your business elsewhere.

If I learned anything from this experience, it’s that there really are dealerships out there who want to help you. They know how scary it is to be out there buying a car. Be prepared, and don’t be afraid to keep looking around for the right people.

About the author:

Mary KremerMary Kremer loves traveling, writing, and learning. In her spare time, she enjoys bugging her husband with everything that's on her mind just as he's about to sleep. Find her on Google Plus:

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