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Use these Buy New Car Tips to Get the Best Deals in 2018!

Last Modified: July 17, 2018 by Jeff Ostroff  | Originally Published May 7, 1999

Using our car buying advice and tools, you'll get a great deal that is still more than fair for the dealership. If you'ren't prepared then prepare to get ripped off, it's that simple. People have no problem taking weeks to plan a vacation, but don't spend a few hours doing research before they get a $30,000 vehicle. You'll be able to save a ton of money if you follow our advice.

1. The Best Price Doesn't Mean You Got a Good Deal

A good deal means that you were treated fairly and the dealership made a reasonable profit. The most important thing you'll read here on is to make sure that you don't just focus on the final price. Some dealers will play the "Cash Flow Shell Game" so they can rip you off while making you think you're getting a good deal. An example:

The buyer in this example thought they were getting a good deal because of the low price, but they actually got ripped off. We'll explain all of the tricks to look out for and teach you how to avoid becoming a victim. To save the most money make sure you read the whole site. If you miss one valuable topic on it can cost you thousands of dollars.

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Begin by getting the lowest price using services like TrueCar, CarClearanceDeals and Don't be a "monthly payment buyer" and only look at the payment amount - that is the worst thing you can do. Doing this or becoming a "trade-in buyer" is exactly what the dealer wants and you'll play right into their hand. Once this happens, you'll get ripped off, I guarantee it!

2. When is the best time to buy a new car?

This is more complex question than you think. The incomplete answer is that there are two "best times." The end of December when everyone is out shopping for XMAS gifts, leaving dealer lots void of customers, motivating them to cut prices and break year end sales records. Another good time to shop is September and October, as dealerships sell off cars at lower prices to clear space for the new models. To fully answer this question you should read our detailed article at:

3. All Prep Work Can be Done from Your PC, Tablet or Smart Phone

The last time I bought a vehicle I was able to do all my homework without leaving my house. Back in the "old days" you would waste hours at many dealerships. Luckily the internet was invented so now you don't have leave the comfort of your couch. There are many great sites that allow you to relax, research and get quotes. Once you have determined the dealer with the best price, you take all of your research to them and calmly negotiate the best deal.

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Exclusive for our visitors, try the Free Research Tool. It gives you special friends and family pricing, leverages volume purchase power of large companies, employers, or membership groups. Choose your automobile and configure options online. You'll get an instant quote from a local dealer in the network. If you don't enjoy haggling, you'll love our service.

4. Invoice Prices, Rebates and Incentives

As you follow this guide, you'll find that there are a few critical pieces of information that you'll need to make sure you're getting a great deal. They are invoice price, rebates and incentives. We'll cover these in more detail later but you should know that when talking about rebates and incentives there are some that are well advertised and some that are "secret" between the manufacturer and the dealer.

The most important thing to remember about the invoice price is that it is not the amount the dealer paid for the automobile. We'll show you how to calculate what the dealer actually paid later in this guide.

What are secret incentives?

Secret factory to dealer incentives can be $1,000-$6,000 in addition to known rebates! Because of secret incentives, if you pay invoice, the dealer makes extra profit. You should haggle over this incentive, as many dealers willingly give up all or part of this incentive, making your cost lower.

The Fighting Chance Package

If you want the most accurate, complete and up to date data for these three important items, I'd recommend acquiring the data as part of the FightingChance package. They will also talk to if you have questions about anything that comes up as you go through the purchase process.

Get all of the in depth details in our chapter on dealer invoice pricing >

5. Competition Gets You the Best Deal

Enter the dealership armed with "The Car Buying Folder" that I'll talk about in Chapter 3. Once they see you're prepared, it will work to your advantage. The deal will now proceed on your terms, not theirs. Don't enter a dealership without having multiple price quotes or you'll overpay by thousands. Commissioned salespeople fear "The Folder" because they know you did your homework. They rely on uneducated buyers who don't do any research before they go shopping

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Use Competition to Your Advantage, When you Buy your New Car

Competition also works to get you the best rate on your loan. The dealer is not the only one that can finance your automobile, online lenders are available. Once approved you'll have a check in hand and know your interest rate before you even set foot in the dealership. You can use your low rate to negotiate with the dealer or use your online financing if they won't match or beat the online rate. We'll cover this topic in more detail in our chapter on auto loans. Remember, price is only one component of a complete deal.

Learn more in our section about getting multiple price quotes in advance >

TrueCar gives you a great baseline on pricing. Check the curve to see how your quotes stack up to what other have paid. If the price is better, print out the Guaranteed Savings Certificate and head to the dealership for a hassle free deal. Remember, you still have to pay attention to the other aspects of the deal that we discuss.

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6. Warning About Car Dealership Advertising

The number one goal of any car dealer is to get you in the door. If you'ren't there they can't pull any tricks or scams on you. They hire the best advertising and marketing companies to come up with ads to get you there.

Optical Illusion

Advertisers spends millions in psychological wording research to trick you. Take a look a the image to the right. You thought it said "I love Paris in the Springtime" right? Wrong! See the extra "the"? It really says "I love Paris in the the Springtime." Your brain tricked you. Advertisers rely on your brain to trick you so they don't have to lie.

Take a look at our collection of misleading dealership ads so you'll what to look out for.

7. How Car Dealers Profit From New Car Purchases

You think dealers have just one way to coax money out of you when your purchasing a vehicle? Thank you for playing. Some dealers convince you to spend so much, you didn't know you were taken for a ride! Consumers who brag of high trade in value were asleep at the wheel leaving money on the table in other parts of the deal.

  1. Offers you $3,000 to $4,000 below market price for your trade-in
  2. The new automobile purchase price when getting a vehicle
  3. Marking up the rate they give you for financing
  4. Environmental package extras and extended warranties

The dealership is always trying to maximize their profit. Of course they should make a fair profit on the deal but they shouldn't rip you off. They trick you into a bad deal using what I call the "Car Dealer Cash Flow Shell Game™"

8. Beware of The Cash Flow Shell Game™

Dealers have spent years perfecting this system to maximize profits. Know how the game is played, so you're on a level playing field. Get a detailed explanation of the cash flow shell game so it's a fair contest!

I'll show you how to prevent losses in the various areas of this game. You have enemies to overcome including fear of the unknown. We'll turn that fear into a target rich environment of opportunities for a successful purchase.

Shop where salespeople are not on commission, but on a salary. They still want top dollar, they just don't have commission fever. Some no haggle dealers give good deals, while most don't.

You should shop in a competitive market. Make your offer as shown on this site, bounce it off all the dealers and even "No Haggle" dealers will bite. Many "No Haggle" dealers have a "low" price on the windshield that you find out later included the rebate, so they actually charged you (MSRP - Rebate), which is no bargain. Dealing with a fleet manager can be helpful, since they are not on commission. If you make an appointment, show up, it's bad business if you don't. Good salespeople like an informed consumer because the process will be more efficient.

No matter how good the deal is that you negotiate with the salesperson it can always turn bad quickly in the "F&I" (Business) Office. Pay attention to everything in this guide so that you don't fall victim to this common occurrence.

Read Our First Chapter: New Car Financing > has affiliate relationships with multiple web sites. We are paid referral fees for leads or sales generated from visitors that click on some links or fill out certain forms on this site. Please view our advertising policy page for more information.