Afraid of the Big Bad Car Dealer? Not Me.

I tend to buy cars with my heart—consulting my brain only after it’s too late.

As you can imagine, that attitude often ends in disaster. One personified by a lemon yellow Beetle that sat in my driveway for many years, chortling as it gobbled up every spare dime I had (and then some).

 

A Bright Yellow Volkswagon Beetle

*A cute little beetle. Proof that looks can be deceiving.

It was fast. It was pretty. And it had heated seats. Unfortunately, it also very rarely worked.

So rarely that a few years ago we slunk into a local dealership with our tails between our legs—begging them to take the damn thing off our hands.

And that? Is not a good attitude to have when preparing for battle with a car salesman.

In the end, they “reluctantly” agreed,  selling us a Dodge Caliber to take its place—but only at an exorbitantly high price and interest rate.

In other words, we got ripped off. For the second time in a row.

Well, my friends, it’s time for another new car. Because that Dodge Caliber of mine? Sucks. It’s small. It’s slow. It makes every long-distance drive a tortuous experience. And it’s got to go.

Which means I have to enter the Hall of Doom known as the car dealership again.

But this time, I’m prepared. I’ve been doing my research. I even dedicated an hour of my life to reading this article by an undercover car salesman.

And best of all? I have no time limits on my search. As sucky as the Caliber is, it works. So I can shop my little heart out, buying only when the time is right.

That’s why my husband and I were able to turn our backs on the overly-jovial salesman that tried to trick us into a test drive.

And why we were able to make ourselves at home in another showroom, opening doors and slamming trunks before they had a chance to get their hooks into us.

It’s a whole  new ballgame, and this time we’re going to win.

Anybody got any car buying tips for me?

*Photo courtesy of kenjonbro.

 

 

 

26 Comments on Afraid of the Big Bad Car Dealer? Not Me.

  1. Rebecca
    June 27, 2011 at 6:19 pm (5 years ago)

    Don’t talk about the trade in or how much money you are willing to put down. Just go in there with your dream car in mind and tell them what it is and how much you are willing to pay. If they balk at your suggestion walk out the door right after you say “When you can come to agree with my price give me a call” And LEAVE don’t look back. Just leave. A lot of times, this will end up with a phone call from the manager (who is in the position to give you the best deal). After you are offered your best deal, then show them you have a trade in and a down payment.

    You probably do NOT want to go with financing from the dealership. Check out financing at your bank FIRST. Go there today and get your money squared away.

    Reply
    • Amber
      June 28, 2011 at 9:41 am (5 years ago)

      Thanks for the advice! And you’re right dealer financing is a no no!

      Reply
  2. christina
    June 27, 2011 at 6:25 pm (5 years ago)

    Call me!! First though, what are you looking for? have you done your research? I can send you reviews and other info GALORE. There are deals going on … but summer sales time is starting soon — July, Aug, Sept. Call me! The more work you do up front, the less disappointment you find when you walk through those doors. :) You can totally do this!

    Reply
    • Amber
      June 28, 2011 at 9:41 am (5 years ago)

      I’ll call you tonight, chicklet. Preparation, preparation, preparation! That’s the name of the game!

      Reply
  3. Amber
    June 27, 2011 at 6:49 pm (5 years ago)

    Good luck! I bought my first car without my parents’ involvement a year or so ago and I was petrified.

    I like the website http://www.truecar.com for a better idea of what people are paying for a car you like in your area.

    Reply
    • Amber
      June 28, 2011 at 9:40 am (5 years ago)

      Thanks for the heads up! I’ll definitely check it out.

      Reply
  4. C @ Kid Things
    June 27, 2011 at 7:24 pm (5 years ago)

    No car buying tips, but I had a little yellow beetle for awhile, too. Like yours, mine was very cute, and that’s why I bought it. But also very deceiving. I was both glad and sad to get rid of the thing.

    Reply
    • Amber
      June 28, 2011 at 9:40 am (5 years ago)

      I felt the same way. I’m glad I can say I had one, but I’m also glad it’s no longer my lemon to fix.

      Reply
  5. Janet
    June 27, 2011 at 9:08 pm (5 years ago)

    You have to watch out for those Buggies! I held onto my red one for way too long. But it was soooo cute.

    Reply
    • Amber
      June 28, 2011 at 9:39 am (5 years ago)

      It’s the cuteness that pulls you in and won’t let go. Despite how much pain and trouble that caused me, I still cried when they towed it away (because it didn’t work at all at that point).

      Reply
  6. Erin
    June 28, 2011 at 7:12 am (5 years ago)

    you go girl!!! Car buying can be THE WORST!!!

    I can’t wait to see how it plays out….good luck!!!

    Reply
    • Amber
      June 28, 2011 at 9:38 am (5 years ago)

      Thanks…I think I’ll need it!

      Reply
  7. Missy @ Wonder, Friend
    June 28, 2011 at 10:07 am (5 years ago)

    I despise car shopping (good thing I only do it every 6-8 years). I love new cars, and the idea of buying a car seems like fun. But in reality it’s painful. So painful. We’re about to start the search, too, so I’m off to read the article you link to…

    Reply
    • Amber
      June 29, 2011 at 11:05 am (5 years ago)

      Did you read it? I thought it was really informative. I’d like car shopping if it wasn’t for the pressure. Our Honda dealer let us take out a car for a couple hours by ourselves. That was awesome, and I’m tempted to buy from him just because of that!

      Reply
  8. Lisa
    June 28, 2011 at 10:16 am (5 years ago)

    I used to work at a car dealership. Tell them you want the unredacted invoice price. Car dealers redact the price and try to tell you the price they are giving you is a deal.

    Reply
    • Amber
      June 29, 2011 at 11:04 am (5 years ago)

      Good to know. I’ll remember that!

      Reply
  9. Gail
    June 28, 2011 at 12:57 pm (5 years ago)

    Once you find out exactly which car you want, go to the internet. E-mail all the close dealers telling them exactly which one you want. Color and all. See which one will give you the best. We got our minivan this way, it was a no-haggle price. She showed us the invoice, got the car for us from the northern Chicago suburbs (to NW IN) and it was awesome. I would go back to that lady in a heartbeat. No-haggle is the way to go! Also? I sold my old car to Carmax for $5K more than what the trade-in offered. At least go to CarMax to see what they’ll offer before you try to haggle on the trade-in.
    Also, negotiate the price of the car, not the monthly payment.

    Reply
    • Amber
      June 29, 2011 at 11:04 am (5 years ago)

      I’m definitely making the Internet my friend! Hadn’t thought of CarMax though. It’s an hour away, but sounds like it might be worth a trip!

      Reply
  10. Kate
    June 28, 2011 at 5:54 pm (5 years ago)

    K, so car buying is not a terrifying time, it IS FUN! Things you must remember. 1. They work at a car dealership, if they were that rich they would not work at a car dealership so don’t ever let them make you feel cheap. 2. You are buying said car. Don’t ever feel cheap. 3. (Most important) you have to be able to walk away! This is not a one of a kind purchase. You think the deal is great but only offered till 5 pm today, still walk away. They’ll give you same deal tomorrow. If looking for new ask about demo model, save$$$. Don’t feel cheap, see rules 1 and 2. 4. Don’t take the free tv unless you need a tv, its worked into the price and is total rip off. 5. Don’t be afraid to pit them against each other “oh I also really like the blah blah blah and I think the price is a little lower but they have xxx feature”Straight face, no fear!
    So in summation: You are super rich lady (even with financing cause the rates are better), so… super rich lady, you don’t need their piece of crap car, you are doing them a favour, so they should give you free things to take car off their hands. Go!

    Reply
    • Amber
      June 29, 2011 at 11:03 am (5 years ago)

      Hmmmm, I like the way you think. I also think you should go car buying for me. :)

      Reply
  11. Allison Dellion
    June 28, 2011 at 6:14 pm (5 years ago)

    Of course, you’ll have to ask Amanda since her family just got a new vehicle.
    I’ve never got a car from a car lot before. I’ve only gotten used vehicles. My first first was a Chevy panel van with no seats in it. My second was a Toyota Celica GTS, five speed, I loved it and I miss that car so bad, but the tranny went out and I only paid 800$ for the car so it went to the scrapper! Now I’m stuck with the mini-van, but we’d really like to get rid of it and find something else that I am more comfortable with. I wish you guys luck with your hunt and I hope you find something you love!

    Reply
    • Amber
      June 29, 2011 at 11:02 am (5 years ago)

      I’d kinda like a minivan, but I’m not willing to commit to it. I’m sure we’ll find something great – it’s just going to take time!

      Reply
  12. Kate
    June 29, 2011 at 5:25 pm (5 years ago)

    I would love to go car shopping for you!! My husband says it makes him uncomfortable to go with me. He feels like their doing us a favour letting us buy a car and I’m like whatever, you’re stealing all my money the least you could do is give me some free shnizzle. So last time I went by myself and he just came to pick it up.

    Reply
  13. Kate
    June 29, 2011 at 5:41 pm (5 years ago)

    How come when I post a comment I get the weird spread eagle little dude?

    Reply
  14. Laureen Buchner
    July 28, 2013 at 9:40 am (3 years ago)

    Don’t let the title fool you :) The book (a quick & easy read at only 39 pages) is written for people just like you. It’s designed to make your next car buying trip an easy, and fun, experience. I suggest you pay special attention to the tip of when to buy … it could save you 100s if not 1000s.

    You’ve probably already made a purchase by now, but When Buyers Lie … is an informative read for anyone at any time.

    Reply

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