1. Do Your Homework. Look at consumer guides, look at new car guides, check out
insurance costs, check to see what dealers are offering for rebates.
2. Choose Your Dealer Well. Look for someone reputable. Check the service center; are
they friendly, fast and efficient? What is your first impression? Remember you will be
dealing with the service center long after your sale is completed.
3. Be Willing To Walk Away. If you feel overwhelmed or pressured, walk away. Have
several models in mind. Your chances of a better deal increase when you can negotiate
on several vehicle models. (If the dealer knows you have your heart set on a specific
vehicle, negotiations are over.)
4. Stay Calm When Negotiating. Remember the dealer does this everyday, the average
person does it once every four years. The dealer will be better at the negotiation
process. Keep your wits about you, keep the salesman on the subject of cost, and don’t
sign anything until you have time to think about it.
5. Get Dealer Promises In Writing. If the dealer promises to give you future add-ons at
cost, change a spare tire, upgrade a CD player, include floor mats, etc. – get it in writing.
Have them put it on the sales contract. After the sale anything not in writing could be
subject to interpretation.
6. Negotiate The Price Of Your New Car Based On “Cash Price”. If you are trading in a
vehicle make the deal on the new vehicle first, then bring up your trade-in. Some dealers
inflate the price of your new vehicle to incorporate the trade-in.
7. Be Honest About The Condition Of Your Trade-In. You want the dealer to be honest
with you, reciprocate in kind. A good honest relationship is the best place to start.
8. When A Rebate vs. Low Interest Rate Is Offered, Consider The Rebate. The rebate
reduces the amount financed and reduces the amount of sales tax paid. If you are in an
accident or decide the vehicle is not for you, taking the rebate allows more equity in the
9. Consider “Add-Ons” Carefully Before Agreeing. Do you already have AAA that will
help you with roadside assistance? Have you had under-carriage rust before where you
needed additional coverage? Do you need the fabric guard or is that something you
could do with a product yourself? Do you need the floor mats or could you buy some
after? All these items add up, that is why they are add-ons. Don’t let the excitement of a
new vehicle cloud your basic judgment.
10. Be Nice But Not A Push-Over. Dealers are counting on making you feel embarrassed if
you negotiate. So what if the dealer thinks you are trying to save money? They work on
commission and are conditioned to get the highest price, you want on the lowest. You
hope to meet in the middle.