Best Practices - When Purchasing from a local authorized dealer.

Our friends at have possibly the most comprehensive tips on buying cars in the US. They also cover a variety of scams , shady deals and offer tips , suggestions and alerts. I would highly recommend you to read their topics and if possible print it out before you start your car purchase quests. Below is some the individual situations that you might run into :-

1.) Never walk in to dealer and ask the price on a vehicle - This is since they have internet pricing and lot pricing,   Dealers usually mark down certain cars on their internet inventory and call these as 'Internet specials'. Usually the window sticker will say a higher price than you have seen on the internet. For example , lets say you are interested in Lexus IS250 , model years 2011 that you saw on the web,  Print out the ad and then walk into the dealer. and say that you are looking for to buy a  car "white Lexus is250 year 2010".  He might have more than one in stock and may try to show you to cars that have sticker prices higher than you saw on the internet. At this time, you politely mention to him that, this is about the car you saw on the internet and it was offered at $$$$. If they say something like the price is not valid or the car is sold or the price has gone up or some other BS , just walk away and go with another honest dealer.

2.) Get your own financing :- For reasons I cannot stress over and over. Just have your CREDIT union or bank approve you a new/used car finance and then go shopping. You can also try several exclusive online provider like Capital one / Chase etc provide competitive rates. Most of these banks are upfront with costs and fees and straight forward with early pay offs and such.

ALERT - You will find that , most dealers are in a hurry "to finance" your car purchase at what ever it takes. DO not fall for their traps. If they ask you how you plan to pay - Tell then you are "Planning to Pay by CASH". To put things in perspective cash does not exclusively  mean  a wad of 100 dollar bills in this country. A check (or certified check) from your finance institution is treated as cash for the purpose of the payment of the car. Even If you are getting a finance , the finance is in your name , as far as the car dealer goes , he is basically getting "CASH" in his hands. So letting them know early on , that you are paying by cash , they wont try their "finance " tricks on you , and secondly you have more bargaining power. You need to be careful here. Sometimes even if you tell them that you are pre-approved by your bank , they will try to rope you in saying that they can get you a better rate. Do not fall for this trick at any cost. You will end up having multiple credit checks and rates will come higher. Just stick with your bank only.

3.) Don't provide sensitive information : - Because you have your own finance , never disclose any critical details like your SSN at any cost. They will try to lie to you that even if you have your own finance they still need to run CREDIT check. This is a lie and sometimes illegal. Ask them to give that in writing and see how they respond. By law a car purchase is like purchasing a TV from BestBuy or Newegg. Does BestBuy or newegg run a credit check on you ?

4.) Get the total out of the door price. Always ask for "total out of the door cost including tax and all expenses". Do not give them a playground to add other unknown -charges,services and upsells and other mysterious dealer fees , delivery fee , unpacking fee , preparation fee. etc.  They do not seem to understand if you just ask them "what is my total cost of the car ?"  In my experience the only term/lingo they seem to understand is term "Out of the door total , including tax and all expenses". So ask them for the total out of the door with all expenses included and showing the price break up. Don't be shocked by what he presents to you here. If you really like the car , this "out of the door" piece of paper will be the starting point of negotiations.

5.) Verify Vehicle History - Always make sure with them that it has a clean CarFax / auto check report. This is because , there are some unscrupulous dealer who will try to sell you a damaged /salvage title car for the price near to that of a clean good car. You may think that he is giving you a good deal , but in-fact it pulling a fast one on you. Sometimes the dealers themselves are honest and may not know that the car has a damage or body work done. It is your duty as a careful car buyer to ask for its CarFax / AUTOCHECK report. Better yet spent a few dollars and purchase the report and review it. I remember being at dealer for a car that cost about 28K , he was giving a good deal on the car , since the book value was near to 34K. I was about to sign on the deal. The dealer had verbally said that the car is clean , but he didn't have the Autocheck report on it and he did not want to pay for it. He told me that he can get me the report for $25. Ofcourse I couldn't sign the deal with out seeing the clean history. I put a dollar 20 and dollar 5 bill on his table and had him login in and print the report from his PC. The report on the car came out clean and good and I did end up getting a good deal on the car.

6.) Warranty :- Ensure that factory warranty is available - Just like electronics come with 1 Yr Warranty , most car manufacturers offer a Factory warranty.  For example for a Camry this is how the Warranty looks like :-

Basic     3 year / 36,000 miles
Drivetrain     5 year / 60,000 miles
Rust     5 year / Unlimited miles

With in the terms of warranty , second and subsequent owners are eligible for the remaining portion of the said factory warranty.  Usually warranty is void if the car has been in an accident and / or their is a frame damage. So though the vehicle history /AUTOCHECK might come out clean , the warranty will still be void. If you are purchasing from a authorized dealer , he should be able to verify that from his computer. If you are a local used car dealer , you will have to call the Authorized dealer with the VIN number to verify eligible warranty included. This additional information will help you factor in the cost of the car.

7.) Service History : This is the list of repairs and re-calls that have been done on the car by the Authorized Dealer. The authorized dealer maintains the service record an they should be able to print this information for you.  Suspicious activity in the record includes , problem or a part being replaced many times over. This is usually a red-flag and suggests to some workmanship/mechanical  issues with the car you are considering to purchase.