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Top 5 Car Buying Misconceptions

People have a lot of wrong ideas when it comes to the prospect of buying a car, and most of these myths are propagated by other consumers even though they’ve never had that particular experience themselves. So before you go into car buying armed with the wrong ideas, here are just a few common misconceptions that you’ll want to rid yourself of.

  • Every Salesman is out to Bilk you.
  • This is absolutely untrue. Although car salesmen work on commission and they have to make some money on the deal, the truth is that they want to make a sale more than they want to finagle a few extra bucks out of you. In most cases they are willing to work with you in order to make a sale happen, so you should definitely prepare to haggle. But keep in mind that there is only so much they can do. When they hit a certain percentage over cost they simply won’t go any further.

  •  You can get the Price you Want.
  • Now, this could actually happen if you have a truly realistic price in mind. But if your plan is to haggle a car dealer down from a $30,000 sticker price to half that number, you might as well stop before you even start because it’s not going to happen. When you understand that every new car comes with an invoice cost (what the dealer had to pay to get it) and a suggested retail price (the general markup for the public), and you further realize that the dealership has to pay for certain things along the way (transport, lot storage, maintenance, etc.), then you should know that you’ll only get so far. But with a realistic number in mind you may be able to haggle for a price that you can live with.

  •  Cash is King.
  • Walking into a car dealership and plunking down a suitcase full of cash may sound cool in a movie script, but in real life it won’t really get you the price you want. Again, you must realize that there are limits to what may be negotiated. Paying cash could net you a better price for sure, but don’t expect to get less than dealer cost.

  • You must Haggle to get a Good Price.
  • Wrong again. If you’re not the type that’s comfortable with the negotiating process, you needn’t give up on getting a price you’re comfortable with. For one thing, you can look online, either as a tactic to ask for price matching or simply as a means of purchasing your new car at a price you can afford. However, you might also use a membership program like AAA. They can not only help you to find the car of your dreams at the right price, but many dealerships offer a price specifically for AAA members that is a set percentage above dealer cost, no haggling necessary.

  • You have to Read the Contract in Full.
  • While you should always know what you’re signing, it’s unlikely that a dealership is going to try to pull one over on you with the fine print. If they treated consumers this way they likely wouldn’t stay in business for long. All you have to do is make sure the numbers match up to what you discussed with the salesperson and you can feel relatively confident about signing on the dotted line. Whether you’re shopping in the San Fernando Valley or at Bentley Sevenoaks, it pays to ask questions until you’re satisfied that you understand the terms and conditions you’re agreeing to. And while you can certainly read every line of the contract, the important thing is to make sure the numbers you agreed to are listed.