Skip to main content

The Biggest Car Buying Mistakes You Can Make with a Dealership

Here’s the latest on what you should never do when shopping and trying to buy a car at a dealership.


How Car Shoppers Wind Up Spending Too Much...Or Nothing at All
Many car shoppers unintentionally wind up paying more than they should for both new and used vehicles at dealerships. This is especially true right now due to the current demand and availability for new cars that unfortunately leads to some unsavory practices among certain dealerships.

Related article: Tricks Some Car Dealerships Use to Con Customers

While you may feel that the cards are stacked against you because you are dealing with an experienced seller who knows all the tricks of the trade, there are a number of mistakes many car buyers share in common today that actually interfere with buying a car that you cannot always fault the dealer with.

Related article: Negotiating in 2022 with a Car Dealer Scam Must Watch Video

That’s the message in a recent Car Help Corner YouTube channel episode where the host reveals mistakes car shoppers make that affect the final buying price of a car and even whether a shopper will get a car at all.

Related article: Toyota Dealership Insiders Reveal Tips, Tricks and Red Flags When Buying a New or Used Car

While you are encouraged to watch the entire 10-minute video to get all of the nuances of his advice, provided below is a summary of those mistakes you will want to avoid:

The Biggest Car Buying Mistakes

Mistake #1: Waiting until the last minute to start shopping for a new car. This is very true when your old one has died on you, and you need a replacement vehicle right away. What you will discover today is that often there is a prolonged waiting period for the model you want which means you may have to buy a more expensive car (or one that you really don’t want) that is available at the moment on a dealership lot.

Mistake #2: Going to just one dealership. Don’t assume that all dealerships have the same prices on the same models. You have to shop around and do a dealership-by-dealership price and feature comparison to ensure that you are getting the lowest price possible. Sometimes this means having to cross state lines to find that better deal.

Mistake #3: Focusing on the immediate payments rather than what the final total price you will wind up paying for that vehicle. Never let the dealership talk you into how they will make sure that you can afford a particular car. If you fall into this trap you are guaranteed to wind up paying higher interest rates for a longer period of time that will benefit them and leave you with stuck with an overpriced vehicle.

Mistake #4: Agreeing to add-on products or features. One of the biggest profit makers dealerships count on is getting you to agree to numerous add-on products or features that you really do not need. Anti-theft packages, car care packages, and bogus service fees can add thousands of dollars to the cost of a car. Check every item charged on the invoice and ask questions.

Mistake #5: Hiding the fact that you have a trade-in car to negotiate with. While it may seem best to wait until the very end to mention that you have a trade-in car in hopes of knocking the final price down with this last negotiation technique, you might actually benefit more by letting them know at the beginning of the process. What you have as a trade-in might be a desirable model the dealer knows they can resell on their used car inventory. In other words, it gives you more wiggle room by dealing upfront if it is a used model that is popular right now and the dealership needs badly to attract customers.

Mistake #6: Focusing on the Invoice Price or Dealer Cost. While this was once a way of getting the price you wanted or felt fair for a new car by being firm and unyielding, today it is outdated and not worth pursuing. According to the host, the current supply and demand for many models puts the car dealer at a definite advantage and trying to negotiate in this way is more likely to cause the dealer to walk away to a more reasonable customer offer.

Mistake #7: Expecting to pay thousands less than the MSRP. Again, this is an outdated expectation due to the demand and supply issues of today. Telling the dealer that you are willing only to consider offers below MSRP and will walk away if not met, the dealer will, once again, be the one walking away leaving you no room for any further negotiation…and without a car.

Mistake #8: Waiting for a particular time of the year or month. Another outdated strategy that no longer applies for car buyers is believing that end of month quotas or holiday sales will result in a better chance of getting a car at a lower price. Demand is too high, inventory is too low, there’s no reason for car dealerships to drop prices---especially for the more popular Hybrid and EV models.

That all summarized, here is the video in its entirety:

Biggest Car Buying Mistakes You Can Make with The Dealership

And finally…

For additional articles about buying a new car, here are a few recommendations for your consideration:

Consumer Reports Recommends This Important Negotiation Point to Focus on When Buying a New Car

Worst Deals on New Cars Dominated by Two Popular Makes

The Biggest Lie Dealerships Use on Their Customers

COMING UP NEXT: BMW’s Hindenburg Hybrid

Timothy Boyer is a Torque News automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily new and used vehicle news.

Image Source: Pixabay