Buying a new car is a thrilling experience, especially if you’re prepared. If you go all in on a moment’s notice without having given it any thought, the experience might be a bit more… lackluster. A new car typically means fewer repairs, a smooth ride, and that highly coveted new car smell. It’s hard to beat the elation that comes with buying something that no one else has driven before you. We want you to enjoy every second of your new car, so we want to share things you need to look out for throughout the process. Read on for five red flags to be wary of when buying a new car.
1.Time is Not On Your Side
If you’ve ever gone through the car-buying process, you know that it’s no fast ordeal. And for all the paperwork that’s necessary with financing and beyond, you can expect that to a certain extent. However, if the negotiation phase is taking so long that you’ve gotten hungry, thirsty, tired, and your phone is now dead, it could be time to leave.
It sounds Machiavellian but sometimes dealers will use this to their advantage. And since a solid negotiation technique is to leave and come back anyway, it could be time to cut your potential losses—at least for now. This is going to be hard to do after putting in the time, however, it will likely pay off. If you do return with competitors’ quotes in hand, you’re likely going to get the deal you wanted (or close to it).
2. Your Online Deal is Ignored
You’ve gone to the trouble of doing your research, printing out the quotes from other dealers and the online deals you’ve seen for the car you want. If they take one look at what you’ve brought in from the Internet and immediately start from scratch, run—don’t walk—in the other direction. Of course, whether you to stay to fight it out is your prerogative, but the fact that the online quote immediately went out the window is a red flag.
3. You’re Meeting More People Than You Should
We get it. Buying a car doesn’t just involve the salesperson, per se. But if you’re meeting upwards of 5-7 people, this is a red flag. Again, we understand that buying a new car is a complicated process, but the reason this is a red flag is that it is well known that at least part of each of their duties is to inflate your offer, so if you’re going through a huge team of people—well, you do the math. Looking for a new Audi in Maryland? You should enjoy the experience and realistically be in touch with two people—your sales contact and the Finance Manager.
4. The Fine Print is Out to Get You
As with any business that is not entirely on the up and up, some car dealerships will use the fine print (along with the fact that almost no one reads it) against you. According to an article in USA Today, “Beware the fine print. Often, buried in tiny type in the dealer’s promotional materials are a list of incentives —or “potential” discounts—that are used to calculate the car’s lower sales price. Common discounts include those for first responders, members of the military or recent college grads.”
5. You’re Too Eager
This is more of a red flag for you to watch out for in your own behavior. If you show up to the car dealership in a cab or Uber due to your car having been in a crash or other circumstance, you’re basically advertising the fact that you need a car and you need it fast. The same rule applies for cleaning out your car. If you show up to the dealership and your car is completely void of any personal items, you’re basically telling the sales staff that you are not returning home in that vehicle today.
When it comes to negotiation, you need leverage. As this AutoTrader.com article puts it, “Leaving your car a little cluttered shows that you’re not quite certain you want to buy today—and that could give you more power when it comes time to negotiate.” It might all sound like a game and when it comes down to it, it is.
As long as you’re aware of these red flags, your car buying experience can easily go off without a hitch.