Advice from dad on buying a car

My dad, who’s a master at the car buying process, had some good advice.

Here are a few things I’ve learned about buying cars over the years.

  • First, it’s not uncommon to take 4-6 hours to get a good deal for your vehicle. The sad part is that quite a bit of it is sitting on your hands while they are supposedly making the deal or getting paperwork ready in another room. The truth is they try and wear you down and get you anxious to get out of there. Mom takes a book when she goes with me cause she knows I play the same game. Two things that irritate them is I always carry a calculator and punch in numbers like I’m checking their figures and, if they playing me hard I read everything and question anything that is in the gray area.
  • The best deal is always the “ad car”. These vehicles are advertised to bring folks into the dealership. They are usually below the dealer cost (about 25% to 30% less than window sticker) and used just for the draw. Usually they have too much or not enough for a person. I always look for a range on options I want and then look for the pricing. If they do sell you they car they figure they’ll make it up in finance department. On Mom’s car they offered 500 for the Dodge. I said I wasn’t going to trade it in so we were then dealing real dollars. I actually drove the car a while. When we were getting ready to buy the house I put a “for sale” sign on it. The pricing was low and high on Kelly pricing. This allowed me to knock off some money when someone got interested enough to buy. We sound up selling it for $2,200.00.
  • Most dealers make money on getting you to finance through them. If they think you are going to finance the car through them they sometimes will cut a better deal. (this doesn’t apply on “ad cars”). If you tell them you’ll finance through them if the interest rate is right you are always free to change your mind later and go through your own financing of pay cash. DON’T TELL THEM YOU WANT TO PAY CASH UP FRONT!
  • “Administrative Charge” This is a new thing they’ve added lately (at least in Texas). It’s not usually negotiable and it usually is between $200 and $275.
  • Once you’ve overcome the salesmen and finally settled on a price you start the “tough part”. FINANCE department! It doesn’t matter if you finance or not it’s still part of the chain. As I said before, even if you are, don’t tell them you’re paying cash until they quote you a rate. If you do pay cash you already chipped away at some of their bonus money. If you play them right the finance people will quickly realize that there’s nothing you’re going to buy so he/she wants to get the next pigeon in the chair.
  • Here are some of the things they try to add on:

    1. Extended Warranty. 99.9% of the time defective parts will go out before the 36mo/36000mile bumper to bumper warranty. I told them if I didn’t believe that “Ford” or “Mazda” built a car that would last at least 100K miles I wouldn’t be buying it. (They can’t argue with a compliment or tell you you’re buying a potential breakdown.)
    2. Window Etching. The biggest rip-off in the industry. It’s on every car on the lot. Mazda wanted $750 for the “bogus” theft insurance policy they try to sell you. I told them it was a deal breaker and they lowered it what they said was their cost $250). You usually have to pay between 200-250.
    3. Alarm System. Most insurance companies will give you a 10% discount on your comprehensive insurance if you have one. It has to be a self activating. If you want one you can usually get a functional aftermarket for around $100. installed.
    4. Some finance guys try to get you to buy “sick, death, out of work or boil on your ass” insurance. Usually by this point they try to stop selling me anything!

As I told you last night, my satisfaction is when I drive out of a dealership I don’t feel like I have a sore butt the next day.

2 thoughts on “Advice from dad on buying a car”

  1. Mark Potter

    Wise comments and very helpful and true! As my Dad passed away this year…..thanks Dad.

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