How to Not Get the Car Deal You Want

The mistakes people make when buying cars. And how not to make them.

When you’re shopping for a new car, everyone is quick to give advice on what you should do to ensure that you get the most bang for your buck. But what about those things that are said or done that could result in a win for the dealer and a loss for you? Does anyone ever warn you about those? They should, because it’s easier than you think to slip up.   


The biggest mistakes everyone makes

Buying a car is much like playing a game of poker – you have to keep a straight face. The minute you show that you like a car, a good salesman will play on your emotions. It will be very easy to close the deal, because you would already have made a subconscious commitment to the car in front of you. Instead, just say flatly that the car is of interest and that you’d like to have a look at other dealerships before making a final decision. Whether you actually go to the next car lot, is irrelevant. You just want to keep the power on your side.


Together with this, you should avoid giving away too much personal information. For instance, if you’re a keen mountain biker and you share that with the salesman, he might tell you that it’s very easy to mount a bicycle rack on the car you’re considering. The car will instantly look more attractive to you, making you more likely to close the deal. You might fail to catch that the car is not suitable for driving over rough terrain and regret your decision later.

You will also kick yourself if you tell the dealer how much you can afford to spend on a new car. Of course you should consult a purchase price calculator before stepping into a dealership to determine how much you can afford, but keep the amount to yourself. If you say that you can spend, for example, R4000 a month, don’t be surprised if you only see cars in that price range. You’ll miss out on other perfectly acceptable cars that are more affordable. And why pay more if you can pay less?

The final fatal error you can make is announcing too soon that you want to trade in your car. For starters, the salesman might concentrate on that deal more and shape an offer on a new car around what transpires around the trade-in financials. You could win this way, but you also stand to lose, especially if you didn’t do proper research on your car’s resale value before going to the dealership. Do your homework first and don’t tell the salesman that you have a car to sell, or at least for how much, until an agreement has been reached on the car that you are interested in.

If you still find yourself flustered when faced with a salesman who knows their way around a car deal, just remember the golden rule – always keep your cards close to your chest. This will ensure that you don’t leave the dealership a loser, but rather, a winner, with a car that suits your pocket and style.

You May Also Like

The Best Time to Buy a Car

Some people say December/January, while others say the fall, when new models are just arriving. And it's not just time of the year, either. You can find advice on what day of the week is best.