Auto Repair Help
Carl’s Corner – Auto Repair Help

By Carl O’Reilly

The following will give you some insight into the ins-and-outs of new car dealerships. Remember, the more you know, the more you’ll save and the better your chances of finding a dealer that will treat you right beyond the initial sale.

The most important factor is to buy from a dealer that has a reputation for doing good warranty work. Yes, that’s right – warranty work. Of course you’ll also want to find a dealer who’ll give you the best deal. However, it’s the dealer that will take care of you if things go wrong with the vehicle. Ask friends who have purchased from a dealer you are considering or better, check the dealer’s CSI rating by calling the manufacturer (check your phone book or the web for the number of the local manufacturer’s office).

The Salesman – this person is trained to psychologically understand the potential buyer, get into their mindset, find out what they really want, and make a sale today. They are extremely motivated and will do almost anything to sell you a vehicle and maximize their profit. When dealing with a salesman, always make sure you are the one commanding the conversation. Don’t let yourself be manipulated. Don’t ever let the salesman know that you’re “in love” with the vehicle. Stay relaxed and if something does not seem right, it probably isn’t – leave and think about the situation.

The Sales Manager – this person will step in if the salesman is not able to get enough for the vehicle or can’t close the sale. Watch out! Please know that this person used to be a salesman but was so good, he was promoted to sales manager. Stick to your guns and don’t back down.

The Business Manager – once a deal is made, the next step is to fill out the paperwork. The business manager is the one who does this. OK, suppose you just negotiated a great price… you’re happy and thinking all you have to do now is go through the paperwork. The business manager invites you into his air conditioned office, offers you a cup of coffee, and congratulates you on your new purchase. You think you’re home free but you’re not; don’t get too comfortable because this person’s job is to add on extras to increase the dealer’s profit. Things like paint sealant, fabric guard, rustproofing, an alarm system, a service contract, and other overpriced items. He’ll probably say something like, “we can install this gizmo for you right now and it will only increase your monthly payment by a few dollars… you won’t even notice that”. Don’t cave in! You can always find that gizmo for a much lower price at a specialty shop that deals in that type of equipment (for example – car stereos, alarm systems, etc.).

Seven out of ten people who buy a new vehicle will finance it through the dealer. Does this mean that dealer financing is a good deal? Not at all. What it really means is that dealers are experts at persuasion – especially when it comes to financing. If you’re a low risk (ie. have a good credit rating), dealers can make a bundle. In general, if you have a good credit history and a steady job, you’ll want to look towards banks and credit unions for financing since their rates will be less than what a dealer will offer. On the other hand, if your credit rating is less than favorable, you may have no choice but to finance through a dealer.

Car salesmen play on the emotional appeal of owning a new vehicle. If you feel you’re being “swept away”, start to think logically about the deal the salesman is offering you. Some salesmen try to be your friend. Never forget that the salesman is only there to make money. New car dealers make a good profit from trade-ins. Always make sure you know the value of your used vehicle before you accept an offer on it. Consult Edmund’s Used Car Prices or VMR Used Car Prices (both available at most bookstores & online). A car salesman may offer you a very generous amount for your trade-in in order to gain your trust. Watch out because they will make up for that loss in a higher selling price of the new vehicle, a higher interest rate, or will try to sell you numerous options. A car salesman may say his offer is good only today because it’s a “special” offer; walk away when you hear this. If a car salesman keeps emphasizing the monthly payment and how “you can afford it”, be careful, you’re having the wool pulled over your eyes.

There is no question you will pay more for a used car if you buy from a used car dealer as opposed to a private party. Some used car dealers are pros at deception and will do everything possible to jack up the price of a used vehicle. Further, some used car dealers have even been known to turn back the odometer so they can ask more for the car. Of course, not all used car dealers practice illegal tactics. Many are very honest and run a reputable business. However, you as a consumer should be aware of what often goes on “behind the scenes”. If you’re in the market for a used car, look to a private party before approaching a used car dealer. A used car dealer should be your last resort.


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1 year 11 months ago

Great post! I never taught about the warranty work as a priority, it was always price that was my main focus. I always leave it to the dealer to find me financing, because I was under the impression that they have a better relationship with the bank. Thanks a lot, I have learned something today.

For the used car dealers well what I can say! Go online find someone that is selling the car that you want, no need to go to a dealer…