7 Things You Should Never Say To A Car Dealer To Get The Best Deal On A New Car


When you’re looking for a new car, you’re willing to spend hours on the internet in the name of research, reading reviews, poring over ratings, studying fuel economy, calculating car payments—the list goes on.

Why not bring the same level of preparedness to the in-person car-buying process?

With a little research, you can also become an expert in how to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to buying a vehicle from a dealer.

Here are seven things you should never say to a car salesman if you want to get the best deal possible.

1. “That sounds like a good price.”

People really, really hate negotiating. In fact, in a study conducted by insurance provider Nationwide, 42 percent of respondents said they would rather give up social media for a week than negotiate. But no matter what, you should always try to get a better deal. After all, you definitely won’t get a lower price if you don’t ask for one.

Getty Images | David McNew

2. “I already have financing lined up elsewhere.”

Car dealerships make a lot of their money arranging financing for your new or used car. So when you immediately announce that you already have financing elsewhere or that you plan to pay in cash, they’re going to treat you a little differently.

When dealers believe you’re going to finance your purchase with them, they anticipate being able to make some money on the back end and may drop the price of the vehicle. Be coy, and they may shave more off the purchase price.

Getty Images | Carl Court

3. “I absolutely love this car.”

The key to negotiating is not to show too much of your hand. The more information you provide to the car salesman, the more leverage he has over you. If the salesman thinks you’re willing to walk away, he may be more likely to come down on the price to get you to stay. One of the keys to negotiating is to make the salesman believe that you’ve got nothing to lose. If you walk away without a new car, so what? But if he lets you walk away, he’s lost a sale.

Getty Images | Joe Raedle

4. “I need to buy a car ASAP.”

Similarly, don’t let the car salesman know how badly you need a car (or how badly you think you need a car) and you’ll retain more of the upper hand. If you have all the time in the world to shop around and look for the best deal, there’s no reason for you to settle today. If they know you’re in a rush, the salesman has more leverage.

Getty Images | Matt Cardy

5. “I have bad credit” or “I don’t know my credit score.”

These are magic words to a car salesman. Both statements signal that you may be easily confused by financing deals, and thus won’t notice that they’ve given you a high interest rate. They may try to talk in terms of monthly payments, rather than the total purchase price of the car—and that’s not a good thing.

“Under no circumstances should you start talking about monthly payments,” John Nielson, director of auto repair and buying for AAA, told CNN. “You should just focus on negotiating the purchase price. Once you start talking about monthly payments, everything gets confusing, because suddenly you don’t know if that’s the payment for 24 months, or 36 months, or how much of that would include interest charges if you’re financing the purchase through the dealer.”

Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

6. “Here’s my trade-in vehicle.”

You want to simplify your negotiation as much as possible. In this instance, you want to first focus on getting the purchase price of the new vehicle down, plain and simple. Once the salesman has agreed to a price you like, then mention that you have a vehicle you’d like to trade in. You should treat purchasing a new car and selling your old car as two separate transactions.

Getty Images | Scott Olson

7. “Sure, I’d love to hear about the add-ons.”

Another place dealerships make their money is with add-ons. These include warranties, service packages, anti-theft etchings, paint protection, special insurance packages and more. According to Car and Driver, you should avoid paying for anything other than the vehicle itself. If you didn’t think you needed that add-on when you walked in the door, you definitely don’t need it now—or ever.

Getty Images | Matthias Rietschel

With these tips, you can be sure to save money on your next trip to the car lot!

About the Author

Sarah Kuta

Sarah Kuta is an award-winning writer and editor based in Colorado. She writes regularly about how to find deals, save money and find side gigs. Reach her at sarah@dontwasteyourmoney.com. More.

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