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Aethelwine's avatar

What are some things I should not say when dealing with a car dealer?

Asked by Aethelwine (41394points) July 20th, 2014

I’m taking a used vehicle for a test drive tomorrow. I’m hoping to take the vehicle home if it passes inspection. I will be paying cash.

I have a certain amount that I can spend and I have never had to deal with a car dealer on my own. What are some things I should not say that will ruin my chances for getting what I want?

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28 Answers

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Moneys no object.
I don’t care what it costs ,I want it.
Really that’s cheap.

Lucinda's avatar

1. Don’t tell them you have never bought a car.

2. Tell them you have a little less to spend than you do.

3. Never tell them you really like something. Say it“could work’ or ‘looks good.’’

4. If you don’t know how some aspect of car buying works, don’t say that. Ask how that dealer does it. They usually overexplain anyway.

CWOTUS's avatar

Don’t fall in love with an inanimate object, or exclaim so.

Don’t forget that any reasonable deal with any reasonable seller can also be made… with another reasonable seller, for another reasonable offer. “Too good to be true,” probably is.

It’s never “perfect”. It might be okay, if you’re lucky.

Kicking tires is a time-honored tradition. It tells you absolutely nothing about the tire or the ride, but it’s okay to do as long as you don’t pretend that it does.

Don’t let some of the shiny peripherals: a pretty dashboard, a nice radio, good speakers or shiny paint and chrome blind you to the facts of how the engine runs, whether it leaks oil or runs rough or pulls to one side or the other, or has bad brakes or just feels “sloppy” and run-down.

Feel free to criticize the hell out of the car; it can take it, and it won’t mind.

SecondHandStoke's avatar


Stop interrupting my walkaround by bleating HOW MUCH?

This car I’m attempting to sell you is packed to the gills with stunning, bleeding edge technology. Stop asking HOW FUCKING MUCH?

The features this car includes will make EVERY SINGLE MOMENT you spend behind the wheel a better appreciated one, even when motionless in peak hour traffic. PRIDE OF OWNERSHIP DOESN’T STOP THE MOMENT THE CAR IS NO LONGER IN MOTION.

THE ONLY TIME THAT YOU MIGHT get some satisfaction from buying from another dealer for twelve dollars less is when you are seated at your home office’s desk, NOT when carving up some California canyon.

Oh YES. We do indeed know the formula that makes for a gratifying driving experience. Some of you might, but you are a rare animal.


So you’ve made a buck or two doing cosmetic dentistry. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT DRIVING SKILL COMES INCLUDED WITH THE MSRP.

Yes, you have the ability to give some street kid a million dollar smile. THAT DOES NOT MEAN YOU AREN’T GOING TO APPLY TOO MUCH THROTTLE AND BACK YOUR AVENTADOR INTO A LIGHT POLE.

In the service department especially, WE CAN FIRE YOU. Clueless and unreasonable expectations? Expecting us to rimjob you just because you bought a flood salvage with a BMW roundel on it? You can get properly bent. Get the fuck out of the way so we can help the gentleman with the E30 M3 that he bought new in 1986.

Car has stupid, non functional mods? Disc changer full of coins? Interior crevices filled with Captain Crunch? Engine gunked up with TENS OF THOUSANDS of miles of oil sludge?

Take it somewhere else. Please. You have no clue how much we despise you.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I actually just read an article on car dealers the strategy the use to get you into buying a car. I suggest reading it as well as skimming the comments, some good points mentioned there too.

The key is patience on your part and throwing them off guard. I’m sure you and Jon going together would be great at this. Determine your price before you go, don’t budge on their bullshit offers and what have you. Feign disinterest when they babble on about the features in the car, and throw em for an occasional spin every now and then.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

“Throwing us off guard.”


It isn’t our fault if you have no idea what a good car is or you have no clue what you want or need.

Having no faith in salespeople only proves you lack of conficence in your chosen product.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@SecondHandStoke I don’t follow. I know exactly what I want before I go. It’s cars salesmen that try and tell me that I’d really like the leather or electric windows or whatever other bullshit I don’t need. Throwing a salesmen off guard doesn’t just apply to cars though, it works in any kind of haggling situation. Know what you want and if you don’t get it for the price you wanted, move on. It’s the sale person that NEEDs you to make the purchase, not the other way around.

Aethelwine's avatar

We are driving a 96 Mercury Tracer with 220,000 miles and hopefully movin’ on up to a 01 Ford Explorer with 130,000 miles. (your answers helpful and funny)

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SecondHandStoke's avatar

^ The hordes that have no clue how to be good customers.

I’ve bought a thing or two in my life.

Everything from metal washers to abdominal surgery.

I know how to ask the right questions. Know when to listen, and how to appreciate when a salesperson bothers to educate me, the customer.

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SecondHandStoke's avatar

^ A good salesperson educates the customer.

This is a fact.

I’ve experienced this from both sides.

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El_Cadejo's avatar

@SecondHandStoke I’ve done sales as well, and educated plenty of people on how to set up and maintain salt water tanks, I get it. But to insinuate that because someone doesn’t have much money they must be an idiot is just asinine. In my experience it was those with a ton of expendable money that were the idiots because, well, fuck it, if the fish dies,the car breaks, etc I’ll just get another. Someone with less money is more likely to take the time to research whatever it is they’re purchasing to avoid wasting money needlessly.

Then again none of this is even the point of this question. I’m just too baffled that you can actually believe that to not take the bait.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

The process:

OP poses a question.

User/Members reply, hopefully with some intellectual honesty and based on their real world experience.


whitenoise's avatar


Don’t tell them what you have in mind to spend. The first to name a prize loses.

Realize that they will want to use techniques called ‘anchouring’ and ‘framing’.

By showing you more expensive cars, or even by talking about higher numbers and things like value retention of other cars , they try to make you think that the price on the next car they will show you is a unique bargain.

Don’t fall into the trap of making rush decisions. They will try to make you believe their offer is unique and limited. That is not the way it works. There is always a similar deal out there, somewhere, next time.

Do your research at home. Ask about a car, go home and research costs of ownership, safety, reliability etc, before your final decision. If they don’t alllow you to do that, then there is something fishy. If it is a good deal, the it will be good for both them and you and they will not force you into a decision on the spot. Remember… There will be similar or better deal somewhere next time.

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hearkat's avatar

[Mod says] Flames off, please. I’m pretty sure that many of us have experience in retail on some level, and have bad experiences with rude customers and dishonest salespeople. Let’s not carry that over and make this conversation personal by overgeneralizing. If you have tips and suggestions for the OP on how to be a good customer and ask the right questions, and how to determine whether their salesperson is trying to mislead or oversell them, please join the conversation.

Aethelwine's avatar

After months of research and searching for the best vehicle for our family, advice from my sister who was a mechanic in the Army and now a mechanic at Caterpillar Inc. for the past 20+ years, and the helpful advice from some of you, I got the deal I was hoping for.

Thank you to those who were helpful and non-judgmental. I do appreciate your help!

El_Cadejo's avatar

@jonsblond Congrats :) I hope your new vehicle treats ya well.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

@jonsblond Seriously, the tenor of your OP was judgmental.

Yes, we want to move units. But the sale is the beginning of the relationship, not the end.

We want for you to buy from our dealership again in the future. We want you to trust us with your car’s servicing and repair.

Did the dealer introduce you to the Sales Manager? The Service Manager?

Were you shown around the service department? Did they show that it was a clean an orderly place for your car to be?

If the car was used were you shown proof it never had salvage status? Were you given a guarantee that it would be bought back if it proved to be a salvage?

Were you assured that only authentic factory parts would be used for mechanical or collision repair?

Hopefully you understood that you weren’t just buying a car, you were initiating a relationship.

SecondHandStoke's avatar


Our job is to lead you through the buying process.

Did the sales associate put the car on a lift so you could make a visual inspection of the underside?

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