Before you hit the car dealership, here are 8 things to know to get the best deal

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Although it’s been nearly two years since a shortage of microchips turned the auto industry into a market defined by limited choices, high prices and long waits, little has changed despite the fact that the rest of the world he economy has mainly evolved.

Many drivers simply can’t put off buying a new car any longer, but it’s still a jungle.

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“Today’s car buyers face a number of challenges, including high inflation, rising interest rates, low dealer inventory and few incentives,” said Ian Lang, editor. Chief Automotive Advisor at Bumper.com.

With high prices, few choices, and increasingly expensive money to borrow, what should buyers know before heading to the dealership? GOBankingRates asked the experts.

You can save time and money by pre-ordering

Lang advises buying your vehicle from the manufacturer to avoid dealer mark-ups and add-ons.

“You’ll get exactly the color and options you want, as long as you’re willing to wait about six to eight weeks,” he said. “Ordering a vehicle saves the dealer on lot fees and insurance for vehicles parked onsite or offsite, which they can then pass on to the consumer. The easiest way to order a vehicle is to go to a car manufacturer’s website and create the vehicle configuration you want, then send that information to your preferred dealership.

Remember, timing is everything

According to Lang, it’s common for dealers to feel extra pressure to sell cars at the end of the month or year – and that’s exactly when you should pounce.

“The dealership may have a sales target to hit by the end of the month, in which case they might lower their price,” Lang said. “Dealers can also set annual quotas that result in lower prices at the end of the year.”

Lang also advised waiting until just after the new model is released to look for deals on the previous model year.

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Put the power in your hands by securing external funding

It’s more important than ever not to put yourself in a situation where dealer financing is your only option. Instead, give yourself the leverage of a cash buyer by getting pre-approved.

“If the dealership can beat your lender’s pre-approved interest rate, having the loan in hand gives you a great negotiating position,” Lang said. “Financing is a big part of how dealerships make money, so they have an incentive to do whatever it takes to get you to finance with them, including lowering the price of the car, in some cases. .”

Your exchange is a goldmine

The reason prices are so high and inventory so low in the new and used markets is simple: too much demand for not enough supply, which puts you in the driver’s seat at trade time.

“Your existing vehicle is as valuable as ever since you purchased it,” Lang said. “While it’s true that you can usually make more money selling a car privately, low inventory and high demand mean dealers are willing to pay a premium for your trade-in. This can significantly reduce the cost of a new car.

Buy a second hand ? Go for luxury (sort of)

Robert Walden, founder of VehicleFreak, recently purchased a 2011 Yaris with 12,000 miles from a Porsche dealership for $7,500—it’s a trick of the trade he recommends to everyone.

“They just wanted to pull it off the lot because they had Porsches for sale,” Walden said. “If you’re looking for a good deal on a car, call all the luxury dealerships in your area and ask them, ‘What’s the cheapest car you have in your inventory?’ They usually want to move these cars as fast as possible, so you’ll get a much better deal than buying the same car from a non-luxury dealership.

Treat your mechanic like a buying partner

If you have a trusted mechanic, that’s an opinion worth paying for if you’re buying used.

“Taking the car to a mechanic not associated with the dealership gives a fresh look at the vehicle to see if there are any issues to be aware of that can give you more leverage in negotiations,” said Nicole Miskelley, Director of PMR, an auto repair and towing business in Marion, Illinois. “In addition to that, these mechanics can tell you other things about the potential future of the vehicle. Mechanics see a lot of different cars coming in and out, and can tell you what common issues they see with different makes and models that you should be aware of.

Know before you go

According to Jonathan Ganther, co-founder and COO of Brakes To Go, getting a good price is only half the battle. The other half is making sure you get the car that balances your wants and needs — not the dealership’s — by thoroughly researching a site like Autotrader or Cars.com before talking to a salesperson.

“These sites will allow you to do a detailed search of vehicles in your area and assess their market value,” Ganther said. “To find the best match, start with a general search to get an idea of ​​what’s available, then narrow it down gradually. Important filters to use on these sites include year, price, safety rating, body style, etc. By understanding what is on the market, you will be able to negotiate the price more effectively with the dealer.

Consider the cost of insurance

When crunching the numbers to determine if you can afford the car you want, be sure to factor in the cost of your premiums.

“Without knowing the impact of insurance on your monthly payment, you may regret your purchase,” said Arnold Chapman, founder and CEO of online automotive industry magazine ELDFocus.com. “Take the time to check out the different insurance rates that come with the car you’re looking to buy.”

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About the Author

Andrew Lisa has been writing professionally since 2001. An award-winning writer, Andrew was previously one of the youngest nationally distributed columnists for the nation’s largest newspaper syndicate, the Gannett News Service. He worked as a business editor for amNewYork, the most widely distributed newspaper in Manhattan, and worked as an editor for TheStreet.com, a financial publication at the heart of New York’s Wall Street investment community. .