Considering Purchasing a Pre-Owned Ride? These Used Car Shopping Tips Just Might Save You a Few Bucks

Added In: Shopper Tips

by Christopher Boyle

LONG ISLAND, NY – With the economy still in the process of a slow rebuild and people pinching every penny possible in order to make ends meet, it’s no surprise that in recent years the number of used cars sold in the United States is starting to seriously compete with – and at times even overtake – the sales of new ones. Its simple- most cars quickly depreciate in value, even if they’re exquisitely cared for and running perfectly. It’s just how things go, so with a little shopping savvy it’s not hard for a consumer in the market for a new (to them, anyway) car to find a great deal on an even greater vehicle without breaking the bank.

Of course, to do so, you’ll have to deal with one of the most misunderstood groups in popular culture- the used car salesperson. Of course, how these people are portrayed in movies and television shows is often a far cry from reality, but the fact is that used car salespeople are ultimately trying to earn a living, and will often do whatever it takes to make your grab your wallet… even if that means bending the envelope a little bit. That’s why, before you ever set foot on a pre-owned vehicle lot, it’s important to know some of the things that salespeople desperately don’t want you to be aware of. After all, knowledge is power… in this case, the power to get a fair deal while sniffing out sales tactics that might try to separate you from your hard-earned cash.

So look over these tips for used car shoppers and take them to heart the next time you’re considering purchasing a pre-owned ride. They might just save you more than a few bucks.

  • Some Used Car Lots Will Attempt To Work You Before You Even Set Foot In The Door. Yes, often dealerships will do their best just to get you on their lot; once you’re there, the battle is already half-won. To do this, many dealerships will do things to spruce up the lot and make it more attractive to walk-ins – such as adding balloons, rotating stock, and plastering signs with advertisements for sales that, in reality, are available only for very few vehicles. This includes special finance prices intended for very few people who actually qualify (800 credit score).
  • Salespeople May Attempt To Use Time Against You. It’s similar to a tactic that some police use when interrogating a suspect – they will use time as a tool to get what they want, often drawing out the negotiations and the overall process until the customer is fatigued and hungry; in such a weakened state, they tend to be more susceptible to suggestion, making it easier to get the buyer to sign the dotted line. The best way to counter such a tactic is simple – be aware of it, and stand your ground when you feel the process is being drawn out. Tell the salesperson that you have to leave and will be back the next day.
  • Salespeople Don’t Sell Based On Full Price, But Monthly Payments.  Broken down over time your payments could make it appear as though you’re getting getting a great deal, however, it could also conceal the real amount you’re paying for the vehicle. For instance, when you take into consideration factors such as the number of months the loan lasts, coupled with the interest rate, you could find yourself paying thousands of extra dollars by the time the vehicle is paid off. Be careful and be sure to get all of the numbers upfront when financing.
  • Know The Correct Value of Your Trade-In. You’ll find a lot of dealerships that will entice a buyer by offering them a sweet deal if they trade in their current vehicle, but dealers need to resell that vehicle for a profit. For example, let’s say that you’re interested in a $25,000 vehicle at a pre-owned dealership. The salesperson might tell you that your trade-in vehicle is worth $4,000 towards the purchase, but they’ll hook you up with $6,000 for it if you close today. That might seem very generous but what the salesperson may not mention is that the $25,000 car you’re buying is, in reality, is priced at $22,000, making your trade-in worth less than you’ve been lead to believe. Do some research first and go into the deal armed with the right numbers – on both your trade and the car you’re interested in buying.
  • “I Have Another Person Coming To Look At This Car After You…” Yes, the good, old-fashioned high-pressure fear-of-loss sales tactic. If you’re hemming and hawing over your decision, the salespeople will often attempt to light a fire under your feet by telling you that another buyer is interested in the same car or that a big promotion is ending by the close of business that day…anything to get you to commit to a buy. Recognize this for what is it and stand your ground; challenge the salesperson and let them know that there are plenty of other dealerships nearby that likely have the same car available.

Check out our used car listings to find a couple of likely candidates on Long Island. Once you’ve found what you’re looking for, it’s time to negotiate. Use some of these above tips to get ever dollars’ worth of your purchase.

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