Tricks Car Salesmen Use to Take Your Money When Buying a Car


Purchasing a new or used card from a dealership is often an anxiety inducing experience. Dealing with car salesman tactics and car salesman pressure is tough. Car dealers and their employees are often very familiar with what tricks work get people to buy cars. Unfortunately, for buyers, auto salesmen do this hundreds of times a year and most people only do it a few times in their lifetime. The following tips are designed to prevent you from being pushed around by the salesman and to ease your mind of worries in regards to overpaying.


Tricks Car Salesmen Use to Take Your Money Buying Car

Know your market and Know the Car

Know your market. There are many companies like and that have accurate pricing other than internal dealer incentives and pricing. These car pricing websites tell you what your average consumer is paying, not that the car salesman wants you to pay. Your ultimate goal should be to aim for below invoice on any new car purchase. Your walk away price should always be invoice. If you can’t get close, walk away and call the next dealer. You can get enough car dealers working against each other that they’ll undercut each other.  This will avoid many car salesman tricks they may be trying to use to get you to pay more for a car.

When you finally find the car you like, you need to ask the dealer what their best price is, and then you tell them that was more than you budgeted and make a counter offer. You go back and forth a few times until you either buy the car or say no thank you and leave. If you leave the care dealer will often call you later that day or sometime in the next few days to ask you to reconsider, or to offer a better deal.


Know the Car Invoice Price: Avoid Car Dealer Tricks

Know the invoice price of the (which is what the car dealer “paid” before all kick-backs and incentives given by the car manufactured), and the market prices based on what others actually pay. Again, this is a good time to reference internet site in the car buying process. There are sites like will give you an idea if you are already getting the best offers, or if you should wait them out a little longer (or contact more dealers in your area before proceeding). At the very least this will give you confidence that your number is fair and not leave you wondering if the price you paid was “too much”.


Don’t tell the car dealer you are paying in cash

Don’t tell the car dealer you are paying in cash! Refuse additional services from the dealer! A dealer might cut the price closer to break even if they have the hope that you will finance with them or buy a warranty, etc. I wouldn’t engage about those other things, but give them some hope: “I just want to see where I can find the best price before I look into financing, send me your best price for this configuration out the door and we can talk about the other stuff if you’ve got the best deal.” This might not be the most stress free option and you might have to “fight” to get that price once you turn down the other services though.


Avoid Car Payments When Negotiating: Old Car Salesman Trick

Car salesmen are taught to negotiate the payment with a car buyer instead of the final purchase price of the vehicle. Making the car buyer think about car payments has two benefits for them.

1) Making an affordable payment is relatable and gets your mind off of the actual car price. Car buyers end up paying more this way. Dealers know this and tend to exploit this psychological tendency.

2) The interest rate and the length of the loan can quickly fall into the background with this payment focused presentation. The payments method works because we are more likely to digest the affordability of a a monthly payments versus the 5 figure sticker price. Over six years, a $100 dollar increase is not that much, but by doing the math it will add on $6K to the total price. This is the car dealer trick used to get you to pay for more car than you want.


To avoid getting sucked into a higher monthly payments and higher overall car price be firm. Tell the salesman up front “I am not interested in going over payments right now, let’s stick to the price of the car out the door.” You must be proactive here and make sure the car salesman is listening. You want to know the individual price of the car and that is what you want to negotiate. You have now indirectly saved yourself hundreds if not thousands of dollars by directing the negotiations down this road. Also, the out the door price is the price of the car plus all of the fees that the dealer adds on.


Keep Negotiating with the Car Dealer For A Long Time!

When buying a new or used card, hold the negotiations open for awhile with the car salesperson. A month would even be reasonable. Remember that Car dealers have sales quotas and that they need to attain to get certain kickbacks from the automakers. If one of the dealerships is under “quota” near their deadline during the negotiations period, you might just get a screaming deal in order to bump their numbers over the line.


Consider Buying a Car Online

Internet sales is the big thing these days with almost all car dealers. Internet car sales can be good for the car buyer. The dealer already knows what each car must sell for to make money on them, so its much easier to haggle down to the lowest price doing it through email/internet/phone.

In addition, when buying a car online, the dealers already assume you’ve done at least the pricing end of your homework. A good idea might be to send out a blanket email saying “I’m asking every dealership in the area, I want to buy car X for Y amount of money, who can help me out?”


Practicing Negotiating a Car Sale

Go negotiate to buy a car you really don’t want, so you get comfortable with the process. When it comes time to decide, say that it’s not your decision, you have to ask your wife/boss/accountant etc. Ask for a printout of the financing.

Again, always negotiate on price, not payments. Stick to interest rates you’ve already been quoted. After you’ve been there long enough, they will bring up the extended warranty. This is where they make most of their profits in my estimation. Use this to your advantage! Ask if you can get a lower total purchase price if you get the extended warranty. This has worked for me 5 times.


Watch out of Emotion Manipulation

Car salesman use many subliminal tactics to get customers interested in vehicles that they are selling. One of the best ones is emotional manipulation. The reason salesmen often insist on test driving is to get you to create a sense of ownership in your mind. You are unknowingly getting excited and your mind is taking mental ownership of this nice new vehicle.

As the car buyer excitement builds, the emotional part of our brains begins to take over. When this happens, we are much more likely to make a choice based on emotions. The budget we set and the price we wanted are now more likely to be negotiable.

Be mindful of your emotions when buying a new car. Simply being aware of this tactic beforehand and how our mind/bodies will respond is a half of the battle in not making a poor emotional based decision. Never make a large purchase the same day. Be smart, go home, sleep, and revisit it the next day when your mind has had a chance to tend to other matters.


Emotional Car Negotiating Tactics to Used by Dealers

Offering a trial period where the buyer can unwind the deal without penalty is a common successful tactic used. “Why not take it home and talk it over with the wife?” – if the salesperson succeeds here, not only does he transfer ownership, but he also gets you to defend your decision to your SO, effectively making YOU the salesperson. It’s also important to note that there often isn’t a no strings attached policy, and if you do choose to return it, you’ll be paying to unwind the deal.

“Don’t waste my time” – This is less a sales tactic and more a method to make you go away, but surprisingly, it actually also works as a sales tactic. Customers hate to be dismissed. And some will insist on purchasing just to prove it. It’s also a lead in for more aggressive tactics outlined below.

“Who wears the pants?” – This is literally a dare to buy. Commonly directed at men, since we tend to get our panties in a bunch when our manhood is questioned. Don’t think you’re immune to this if you’re a woman – salespeople love to play on the inferiority that women often feel in these engagements, and can get women to buy by being dismissive about their abilities/knowledge.


Always Get Pre-approved Credit for a Car Loan

Always go in with a preapproval from a bank or credit union and negotiate from there. Car dealers will always come back with a rate better than your preapproval as they make money on the loan so they’ll want to push you to their lender. Having your preapproval in hand will make sure you get the best possible rate. Because if they don’t get you a better rate you will just use the check you have in hand. All of the money you save negotiating a car purchase can be washed away in the finance office. Customers let their guard down when a price has been reached with the salesman. Don’t let this happen to you. Being aware of yourself and the situation is half the battle.

If you walk on the lot with a loan ready to go. It’s the same as walking in with a suitcase full of cash. You can pretty much dictate terms (within reason). The best part is, the terms are ONLY the total value of the car. Get a rate quote before going into the dealership. That way you know what to expect on interest rates and can see through their b.s. You can even get a pre-approval and bring your own financing. Generally I’ve learned that they can’t do any better.

If you are feeling generous, let them put forward a financing plan. You can compare to what you already have. Most likely a bank will do much better than whatever they have. Credit Unions are the best. So if you have CU, call them first and see if they can give you a loan. Best part is, CU’s have a special clause, and if they check your credit score it doesn’t count as a point against you on your credit report


Call Your Insurance Provider for Gap Insurance

Call your insurance provider if you want Gap insurance. The dealership wanted $1,800 for gap insurance. I went into his office knowing that my auto insurance provider could add it to my policy for $3 a month. Also, if you bank at a big bank, please please please dont get your auto loan through one. Your local credit union will have way better rates.


Cancel Extended Warranties

Once the deal has really closed – usually when the bank sends you a statement – go down to the dealership and cancel the warranty. This will piss them off big time. Anyway, stick to your guns and do it. One of two things happens: a) the money comes out of the principle but it doesn’t affect your monthly payment, just the number of them or b) your number of payments will stay the same but will go down each month.

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