We all cringe the day when it becomes apparent that we need to buy a new vehicle. And it’s not only the expense that makes us leery. It’s the whole process of wondering how we’re going to be treated if we go to a dealership.
The best way to handle it is: Do your homework (a lot of it) in advance, as much as you can.
Contact your financial institution about pre-approval for a loan and their interest rates. Know how much vehicle you can buy before you end up at a dealership.
Check Kelley Blue Book online and try to determine what value your current vehicle might have. It might be worth more than you suspect because trade-ins are hot items nowadays.
Try to find something you like that’s already on the lot at a dealership that you can test drive so you’re not waiting months for delivery.
Still, if you’re certain about a particular vehicle, you might see on a dealer website that the vehicle is “in transit” and will arrive “soon.” A deposit at the dealership can hold that vehicle for you. Warning No. 1: That deposit will likely be non-refundable. Warning No. 2: Get it in writing, including the sales price and VIN. In other words, do any haggling before you put down a deposit.
When at the dealership, do not express happy feelings for any certain vehicle or color. Remain noncommittal. Expect them to push you to accept their financing. Don’t disclose your credit score when they ask; they’re getting ready to start pushing the financing.
Don’t disclose that you’re already pre-approved for a loan elsewhere until the very end when you’ve selected a vehicle.
Don’t tell them how much you want for your trade-in; they might be ready to offer even more.
And mostly, be willing to walk away if you’re pressured too much. If you get tired, go home. There are other dealerships everywhere.
(c) 2023 King Features Synd., Inc.