Buying a vehicle new or used usually requires a visit to a dealership of some kind. It may end up being a short and sweet relationship or a long and difficult one, but either way, there are ways to make the relationship worthwhile.
If you need to go to a dealership, there are some things you can do to put yourself in a power position and make the whole experience less stressful. Here’s what you can do to ensure you have the best car dealership experience.
Know the Sales Pitch Game
Buying a car always comes down to one thing: price. The dealership has to make a profit while you are simultaneously looking for the best deal. A typical salesperson will try to upsell you as much as possible and talks in a “sales language” designed to make the buyer believe that car the dealership wants you to buy is the car you want to purchase. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.
The easy solution? Before you head to the dealer, know the car you want and need down to the smallest details. Study pricing specifics and factor in expected dealer fees and be firm when speaking to a salesperson about what you want. Most importantly, be honest with yourself about what you are using the car for. That way, you can avoid purchasing cars with trim levels and equipment you won’t need or use in the future. This can help you avoid buyer’s remorse and save some money.
Choose a Location That Works for You
Sometimes, you may not have the luxury of buying a car or getting service from a dealership close to home, but that should not be necessarily seen as a negative. Some dealers are now offering valet services that allow your car to be picked up from your work location for service and brought back when service is completed. Also, some offer complimentary loaner cars and even have designated drivers to shuttle you around. The shuttle routes are extensive and accommodate unique customer situations if required. Some dealerships that are outside of big cities might also offer better pricing or throw in more goodies to get your business.
Take Time to Learn About Your Car
Buying a car can get exhausting pretty quickly. By the time signing of documents is completed and your car is ready for delivery, you are probably very eager to hop right in and drive off the dealer lot. Pump the brakes a bit. An increasing number of dealers now have car delivery specialists who educate you on the technological and safety features installed in your vehicle. Your car might have very useful features you don’t even know about.
Driver assistance features such as forward collision warning and lane keeping assist have varying settings that cater to your individual driving needs. What may work for one driver may not work for another. It can also be essential to have a hands-on demonstration of some of these features so that you can use them easily in real-world conditions. With semi-autonomous technology becoming increasingly available in mass market vehicles, it is important for you as a driver to know the limits of these types of technology and not put yourself and other drivers in danger.
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Make the Vehicle’s Owner’s Manual Your Best Friend
This sounds pretty trivial at first, but familiarizing yourself with your vehicle’s owner’s manual pretty early on is the best thing you can do for your car for the long term. Get up to speed with how all the controls work, what each warning light in your instrument panel means and familiarize yourself with the troubleshooting section just in case you get into an emergency with the car and need to think and act fast.
Also, it makes your interaction with a service manager or a service advisor at the service department much easier because the better you can explain an anomaly or issue with your vehicle, the quicker it can be diagnosed and dealer service personnel can get to the root of the problem.
Be Wary of Dealership Service Interval Specials
Take your vehicle in for regularly scheduled maintenance. Be wary, however, of tempting offers from a dealer during your visit to add additional service items onto what’s already required for your scheduled maintenance. Does your vehicle really need that fuel injector flush at 30,000 miles? Is it required or recommended to complete a wheel alignment on your vehicle twice a year? Reference your owner’s manual.
Due to differing driving habits, everyone’s car wears down differently. Ask for clear distinctions between required and recommended maintenance services taking into account your own personal driving history with the vehicle.