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How To Buy A Car (Without Getting Screwed)

Posted By Jim On 01/18/2009 @ 11:10 am In Cars | 15 Comments

If you’ve done any reading on how to negotiate with dealers when buying a car, you’ll probably recognize all the steps mention in this tutorial by Rob Gruhl at Ignite Seattle. The problem with negotiating at a dealership isn’t that we don’t know the steps, it’s sticking to them when we have our defense worn down after one BS line after another. The best bit of advice in the video is that you need to bring a friend when you go to the dealership.

The video is only five minutes long but here’s an even briefer recap his tips:

  • Plan on two full weekends – Time is your friend, not theirs.
  • Get financing from your bank – You are unlikely to get a good deal from the dealer, this way you go into it knowing your amount, rate, and other terms.
  • Don’t sell your used car to them – There is no reason they should give you a good deal, Gruhl says they are looking to make $1200-$1800 off your car. Sell on craigslist, donate, or sell on ebay.
  • Pick at least three different cars – That way you have options and aren’t married to a single model
  • Test drive them – So you know how they handle, but don’t buy it after test drive.
  • Invoice is useless – Dealers know this, it’s a distraction, and competitive bidding is the real discriminator. Call 8-10 dealerships and bid them against one another. They will say they don’t do it but tell them that you will buy from them if they give you the best price today (they will bid, they always will).
  • Get the “drive it off the lot” price – That’s the real number, with all the fees, taxes, etc. added in.
  • Confirm availability – Make sure they have it, VIN number, and walk through the options
  • The first visit – You will probably leave because something bad will happen (car is gone or some other BS); Tell them “Sorry we had a deal, see ya.”
  • The second visit – Bring patience and a friend, they will try to tire you out, stick to your guns.
  • Don’t sign until it’s all set up
  • The Back Room – ignore those add ons, high margin stuff you can buy elsewhere, “Just say no”

Yes, all those tips were jam packed into five minutes. If you’re going to buy a car, or even thinking about buying a car, watch the video and you won’t be disappointed.


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