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Doing your homework can get you a great deal on a new c... Doing your homework can get you a great deal on a new car (Getty Images).
Before you go out shopping for a new car, read these five rules of negotiation put together by the experts and editors at AOL Autos:

1. Research the vehicle or vehicles that you want thoroughly on a website such as AOL Autos. Our site will take you to the specific make-and-model page for the vehicle you like, allow you to spec the equipment you want and tell you the best deal we can find for you.

2. When you go to the dealership, be relaxed. Carry yourself with confidence. Remember, a car salesperson does this every day and is an expert. That is leverage over you in the negotiation. If you look and sound confident, it will begin to tip the scales to a more even balance.

3. Never negotiate your actual transaction price down from the sticker price. Always know the invoice price (which you can find on our model pages right here at AOL Autos) and negotiate up from that. Never raise your bid until the salesperson has counter-offered on the first bid you make. Never raise your bid by more than a $100-$200 increment.

4. When it comes to financing, go to the dealership knowing what you can get from your local bank or credit union, regardless of whether the car is new or used. Get the lowest rate you can find and start with that. If the dealer is offering zero-percent financing, have a good idea before you go in how much that is worth on the loan and terms you are planning on so you know whether to take the zero-percent financing or the rebate(s) the dealer is offering. Make those calculations yourself. Don't let the salesperson tell you.

5. This is the most important rule. Go into the dealership ready to walk out without a car. Don't fall in love in the showroom, and don't rush it. If you are thrown curveballs you aren't ready for, or you don't like the way the process is going, just excuse yourself and leave. Remember, nothing is stopping you from getting out of the showroom. Go home to gather your thoughts and research what you weren't prepared for. The dealer will be open the next day.

Car buying is a pressure-packed activity, especially if you are in a position where, for whatever reason, you need a car in your life as soon as humanly possible.

Following these few tips, however, will allow you to make a smart decision and will eliminate the majority of the stress that comes with this process. It's a big, intimidating purchase, especially if you're buying for the first time, but this little bit of homework will make it much easier to handle.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 160 Comments
      David
      • 1 Year Ago
      should pay me to right for AOL. Hope this guy isnt on salary. A new how to by a car article comes out every week and this on is no different. Nothing in this article is a SECRET...... And for the guy beneath my post who says he usually goes even lower . You are the reason sales people are the way they are. People like you who throw illegitimate offers around like they know what they are doing are the ones we love making money on the most. Check me out im gonna offer this guy thousands less then he payed for it... thats fair and smart... Lets pay you thousands less than you work for every year. Anyone want to meet the dumbest person on here besides the author, just scroll down. We are not ****** who take what people offer them. I say no to plenty of stupid offers from people who think they are smarter than me because they read an article on how to buy a car...
      whmere
      • 1 Year Ago
      Your point on offering an amount slightly above the invoice price is a good one,to a point. As the invoice price is not what the dealer pays. But that's not a bad starting point. I usually go even lower.
      xxxxxx
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hahaha........ Dealers are going to make money NO MATTEr how you slice it, or how "prepared" you think you are, reading all the books, checking all the websites and all that dumb stuff. It is ALL designed to mke you BELIEVE you think you have a trump card, when in reality, YOU DO NOT and NEVER will. Dealers make you BELIEVE you are getting a deal even if you think you got them $1000-2000 or more down. It just means less gravy to them. They ALREADY mmae money on you no matter what. So wake up suckers.
        hgeorgech
        • 1 Year Ago
        @xxxxxx
        It's amzing how many "experts" are here telling us how they downward negotiate all car deals to near zero - BUNK! What other retail business has the overheads of a present day auto dealership? Answer: none .. auto dealerships cost a FORTUNE to keep open and maintain ... Typical new dealership land/construction cost in 2008-2011: $4,750,000 ... some approach $6+ million Staffing: admin, sales, service, parts, finance, lot, mgrs ... ranges from 42 - 65+ people (on average) - someone has to pay these people - wages + benefits (only 15-20% are sales-related) - the rest are "overhead" Utility costs .. local Chevy dealer here pays $6,300/mo for electric; $2,750 for natural gas/mo, insurance $3,800/mo; advertising $2,200/mo (print, tv/radio) property taxes .. varies, but you do the calculations on a property worth $5 million or more - easily $12-20k/mo carrying charges on 60 - 200+ vehicles in stock (cars + trucks) - that's interest to the bank on inventory - 5 figures/mo And these "geniuses" think a dealer only pays a salesman ... and can sell you a car for $100 over invoice? Not if he wants to remain in business !! Overheads are the biggest liability The same Chevy dealer indicated it costs his dealership $8,000 - $8,500/day just to open its doors (7 days/wk) - that's $3 million+/yr - and that's BEFORE making any "profit"! NOTE: I am in no way associated with the auto business .. I do, however, know a thing or two about the costs of doing business! And what it takes to STAY in business Bottom line .. No other retail business has the huge fixed overheads of a auto/truck dealership - that's reality
        arvig
        • 1 Year Ago
        @xxxxxx
        Obvious troll is obvious and named "xxxxxx". :P I guess you're saying why do research? :P I don't care if a dealership makes some money, it is a business. But at the same time if my research means I paid less then I would have if I just walked in and said "I want to buy a car", then it was worth it. :P
      • 1 Year Ago
      Julian. true that Rosa`s story is unimaginable, on wednesday I bought a great new Subaru Impreza after bringing in $7001 this past 4 weeks and-a little over, $10 thousand this past-month. this is really the most-financially rewarding I've ever done. I started this nine months/ago and immediately started to bring home over $74.. per/hr. I went to this site............. Fox85.com
      Sensible
      • 1 Year Ago
      I laughed when I read that. About 25 years ago my wife and I were in the market for a new car for her. We stopped into a dealership and the salesman was a nice young man who I realized was really new at what he was doing, and very poorly trained at that. He kept trying to pull the"I'll have to go talk to my manager" routine. He came out with his "Final Offer" (which was about 400 less than what I had planned on having to pay), and I gave my wife a look, which he must have interpreted as not acceptable and lowered his offer again by another $300 without me having to a word. I said, "Done" and bought a car for $700 less than I had planned. It does help to do some planning ahead (and then find a Rookie salesman)
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Sensible
        I have to laugh, I sell cars for a living and I see this happen a lot haha
      • 1 Year Ago
      every new car i have bought i always look for that salesman that is new or looks green behind the gills , trust me you can spot them . all new cars have more than one invoice usually 3 to 5 for each one . The top thing to never pay for is the shipping cost . I never have , if a dealership receives 10 cars and the shipping cost is $2,500.00 , that cost is added to every car on that transport . So try that .... sit down with the salesman and ask for the general sales manager to sit in as well . when they say we'll give X amount trade pause for you know its less than 50% blue book simply say i want 12% more trade and i'm not paying the shipping cost or i will go somewhere else . At this point they are ready to do all the kissing up and deals always seem to get better .
        edbon64
        • 1 Year Ago
        So...What you seem to think is that we get all of our cars shipped for free ? The Ship, train, tractor trailer, or whichever other means by which the car is transported to the dealer is free, huh ? If enyone follows your advise tey will be kicked out of every dealer that they go to.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @edbon64
          He also doesn't know that the destination charge is averaged and that's why it's the same to deliver 100 miles or 3000 miles. There's too much naivety here... Another problem is that the dealer is NOT the manufacturer... we have to pay that as well as the national/regional/local advertising that the manufacturer takes upon themselves to produce and exhibit.
        hgeorgech
        • 1 Year Ago
        strange, isn't it ... Sears doesn't ask you to pay shipping cost for a lawn tractor, or for a 72" smart tv, but auto mfgrs seem to think we all should! stranger, still .. Destination charge (on window sticker) in and around the assembly plant location that made the vehicle is the same (in most cases) than to destinations 100's or 1,000's of miles away!
      jrsharland
      • 1 Year Ago
      My rule #6 - don't buy anything the finance manager offers you. He offered us 6 "options", including a "gold standard" extended warranty ($2400), pre-paid maintenance (what fool would buy that?), etc, etc, and the total of the items offered was $6600. After I took delivery of the car, (an AWD Ford Taurus) I sat down and investigated, on line, the purchase of some sort of extended warranty and I found out that you can buy serveral different levels of extended warranty directly from Ford. I chose the one that provides good coverage for the drive train for $1200. The only reason I bought it was because of the all wheel drive system - this is unknown territory for me and I figured I better be covered to 100,000 miles on that system. By the way, I am quite convinced that Ford quality and reliabilty has nicely surpassed all of the Japanese makes - we traded in a 2008 Mercury Milan with 140,000 miles on the odometer and we had not had one problem with the car the entire time we owned it since it was new. Just routine maintenace stuff. As some have said, we treated the salesman with respect and we got the Taurus, that stickered at $36,800, for $28,600 and we financed with our local credit union at 1.49%. The rest of the story is that it was a demo that had been in the custody of the sales manager and it had 3000 miles on it. But the way we rack up miles, that was nothing to worry about. The car was clean and no dog hair, no stuff from mucus encrusted ankle biters (little kids), etc. So, remember, don't buy anything from the finance manager. They will "force" you to see him/her even if you walk in with a wad of $1000 bills to pay for the car.
        edbon64
        • 1 Year Ago
        @jrsharland
        You aren't being "forced" to see the Finance Manager. There are full disclosure laws out there that all dealerships must follow or face criminal prosecution for preditory lending practices. Since you seem to think that you know everything else, look this up. Plus..I am sure that you were offered the powertrain coverage option. You were already planning on ignoring everything they had to say to you, so you peobably missed it. Sorry to tell you that NO Fords quality has not met, and certainly hasn't surpassed that of any Japanese brand. Keep buying your Fords though, and enjoy your $30,000+ all wheel drive Taurus when you could have bought a Subaru Legacy with all wheel drive, more content, features, reliability and higher resale value for at least $10,000 less.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @jrsharland
        I sold VWs in the mid '80s at a dual VW/Chevrolet dealership. I was later offered the finance manager position, which I took. I did it for a month, and switched back to sales. At the time, VW had a 10 year/100,000 mile body rust warranty. My conscience wouldn't allow me to sell rust proofing, etc. on those. A Chevy, maybe. I had too many good VW customers, some who became friends, and I got a good bit of referall business. Yes, the finance manager can rack up an incredible amount of aftersale. As you wrote, research the available warranty packages, etc. Also research the make and model of car you're buying as far as customer complaints/problem areas. The internet is a great thing for that. The cars today are far better than they once were, and engineering disasters like the Yugo no longer exist. 100-200k miles on a car today is the norm. It's rare to see cars falling apart at 70k. I was happy I sold VW, as I'd see Cavaliers, S-10 pickups, Caprice V8 diesels, etc. rolling in on flatbeds all the time.
        dickbambam
        • 1 Year Ago
        @jrsharland
        One rule a friend told me to use when buying a car is to downplay anything the salesman is saying about the car. If you show any love for anything he is touting he will be reluctant to budge on price figuring he has you sold on the car already. And don't buy any of the "pure profit" stuff they try to sell you, like extended warranty and a maintenance program. Most cars are reliable today and the warranty that comes with the car is good enuf to cover most problems. I was always a American car fan and was loyal to our workers but I have to say my wives Toyota Corolla is a great car. I have not sunk a dime into that car except routine stuff. I've always owned GM products and for the most part the engine and drivetrain have been solid it's the little things that drove me nuts. The electric windows stop working electric seats quit switches break electric fuel pump, etc etc. I have never been a Ford guy but I rented a lot of cars for my work and got all brands and I must say Ford has gotten their act together. The reliability, fit and finish is very good. And the styling is good too. But at the end of the day I think Toyota has me sold. The Japanese have beat us at our own game. You would not want to sell my dad a car. He was a perfectionist and would go over a new car and find all the flaws with it. He would always have a list with American cars, but was totally frustrated when he bought a Toyota. He could not find one thing to take back to the dealer to fix.. With the kind of money you plop down for a car these days you want it to be pefect and something to be proud of.
      rgynn
      • 1 Year Ago
      and oh,,, AOL doesn't have a clue. I believe they take money for their reviews
      bigrbk
      • 1 Year Ago
      i do not like car sales people and when i go they have 5 minutes to make me a great deal or i walk i have been there and done that works for me
      walters474
      • 1 Year Ago
      If the car buyer asks "what colors are available", the sales rep assumes you're done negotiating (so I heard).
      • 1 Year Ago
      I used to be a car saleman, and i would say demand invoice price and don't budge. They will sell at invoice, and if they won't, go to another dealer.
        Mom and Dad
        • 1 Year Ago
        Thank you for your honesty. I have even seen car dealers advertise "below invoice" prices. Don't let them fool you. Don't let them tell you that their boss would be mad if they give you a certain price for a car.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hey David K. do you go into McDonalds and ask for a discount on a Big Mac. Are people allowed to make a living,I think it;s hard enough as it is? What do you think.
        • 1 Year Ago
        well gsethg - there is a HUGE HUGE problem with your theory and comparison with McD. A McD item cost the same nationwide. And they all make a "profit" and a "living" as some salesmen try to say it. Issue with cars is - there can be upto a 5-10% difference in the SAME car model, with SAME accessories, SAME financing, at the SAME dealer in the SAME day!! THATs where the faith and trust is destroyed. McD employees do not need to negotiate the price of a filletofish from 2.5 - 4.5 dollars which is a HUGE margin compared to a car price and the variation. That is what a customer hates about - thats it legitimate to get screwed by a smarty pants!
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