Negotiating a price for a new car can be hectic. But by doing your homework, you’ll avoid being taken by the dealer.
So you’re in the market for a family car. Copious seating and lots of cupholders may be alluring, but they don’t mean a vehicle is as family-friendly as it should be. Even crash tests—by far one of the best ways we have to gauge overall safety—don’t cover everything a parent needs to know. For instance, will the vehicle easily accommodate car seats? Is that third row wedged in so tightly that even an elf would be squeezed for space? Are there design features that could be hazardous to a curious toddler? Down to the day we roll the new car into the driveway, many of us parents still don’t know the answers to these crucial questions, largely because we don’t know what features to look for.
1. Making an Impulse Buy
Don’t be lured by a salesperson who offers a sweet-sounding deal that “expires today.” Instead, research the car’s dealer cost and the True Market Value (TMV), which can serve as a benchmark for your negotiations. Also get preapproved for a loan, and then see if the dealer can beat your finance rate.
2. Paying for Options You Don’t Want
A dealer claims you can’t get a DVD system without buying the sunroof too? Don’t take his word for it. Visit the manufacturer’s Web site to see whether your preferred features come a la carte or bundled with other options. If he doesn’t have the exact model you’re looking for, ask him to order it — or shop around.
3. Negotiating in Person
Reduce sales pressure by asking the dealer’s Internet sales manager for a quote by e-mail or fax. Make sure the price applies to an in-stock model (ask for a vehicle identification number), and take along a printout when you show up to buy it.
4. Undervaluing Your Trade-In
You’ll probably get more for your old car by selling it yourself. But if you prefer to let the dealer handle both transactions, check your trade, and negotiate the price separately.
5. Overlooking Hidden Costs
Read the final invoice closely. There’s no way to avoid the destination charge or registration costs, but you should question any suspicious add-ons, such as dealer prep fees.
Common Car Buying Mistakes Everyone Must Avoid
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