There are a lot of important considerations when buying a car, and a lot of things you can do to
make it easier for yourself. There are also a lot of things you shouldn’t do, either because it will
mess up your negotiations, or could end up more directly costing you money.
• Don’t let your car buying be an emotional choice. Just because your Uncle Bob is selling
a car, and hey, you need a car, does not necessarily mean that Uncle Bob’s old car is your best
choice. Uncle Bob may have smoked. Uncle Bob may have driven a car big enough to fit your
high school soccer team.
• Don’t give out your personal information. Especially if you are buying a car from an
individual who is selling their old car, all they need is for you to fill out the information on the
transfer papers. If they are concerned about your check, go to the back and have a certified
check done. At the car dealership, they only need numbers like your social security number if
they are going to be doing your financing, and then only once you have actually agreed to buy
• When negotiating, don’t talk too much. Once you make your offer, let it sit. Wait for them
to say something. This can be difficult, as you may feel the urge to add something onto your
offer, such as “…or maybe we could go a bit higher” when the salesperson doesn’t say
anything, but let it sit. Smile and wait for them to respond, and when they do, ask them why they
can’t meet your offer. Go through their offer fee by fee and charge by charge.
• When negotiating, the salesperson may leave his or her desk momentarily, perhaps to
talk to someone else. While they are gone, don’t say anything that you wouldn’t say in front of
the sales person.
• Don’t express excitement about the car. Sellers can sense this, and will exploit it. If you
feel like you’ve appeared too eager for the car, leave and come back another day.
• Don’t sign anything until the entire deal has been negotiated. Treat your signature as
the end of negotiating, even if it isn’t, and don’t sign until you’re willing to accept the terms – you
can make the deal conditional on an inspection
• Avoid paying a deposit. Deposits, while they may be refundable, usually aren’t. Or it’s just
very difficult to get the deposit back.
• When buying a used vehicle, don’t skimp on the background checking. Make certain
that the car does not have a lien against it.
Buying a car is a very exciting event. Avoid buyer’s remorse by researching carefully and
making certain that everything is right. Be sure that this is the right car for you and that you’ve
gotten the best possible price.