Thursday, April 1, 2010


In past postings we've talked to your about How to Buy a Car ( 'Nough said.....everything you need to know is there.

However, there's another part of the car buying process that deserves your (and our) attention: How to Negotiate the Car Trade-In. This is another opportunity for a car dealership to rip you off. You negotiate a great deal and now it's time to talk about the trade-in. They take the car away for their used car people to look at. Then they come back with an amount that is so far below its value, for reasons that are usually cosmetic. They tell you how much it's going to cost them to be able to "just get their money back!" Baloney! Phooey! Feh! Feh! Feh! Car dealerships are not in the business of losing money.....they just want to rip you off and make more money. Don't fall for it.

Here are things to keep in mind:

1. Research the value. There are numerous Web sites where solid information is available, including, says Philip Reed, senior consumer advice editor at in Santa Monica, California. You also can visit Kelley Blue Book, AutoTrader, and the National Automobile Dealers Association, or check for similar cars being auctioned on eBay. If you have a CarMax store nearby, take your car there for a free appraisal.

2. Make sure the time is right. Convertibles don't sell well in the North during winter months, but four-wheel drive vehicles do. Likewise, if you owe more on your car trade-in than you think you'll get from a dealer, you're in a very weak bargaining position. Follow the news and trends; when gas prices go up, demand for fuel-efficient cars goes up, and values of SUV's and trucks go down.

3. Spruce up the car. Give the car the equivalent of "curb appeal" so the potential buyer's initial reaction is positive. Go to the car wash, clean up the inside, etc. Sometimes you have to spend money to save money. (What a concept. We're feeling a little faint.)

4. Show your records. If you've kept all the maintenance records on your car, take them with you, and ask the dealer if you can get more for your car because of your full disclosure and vigilance.

5. Negotiate the new purchase and car trade-in separately. Many make the mistake of making the new car deal first, then figuring out what their trade-in is worth and trusting the new car dealership to "be fair." However, consumer wisdom dictates that each transaction should be treated separately. Rather than negotiating the new car price first, research your trade-in first, especially if you have a fairly sought-after car. One way to find out is to put up an ad on and see what kind of offers you get.

6. What should you say? Start your negotiation by letting the salesperson know you've done some research. "Say something along the lines of: "I was researching cars online to see what I can get for this car." Don't open up with an overconfident arrogance: "It's worth $4,000 and not a penny less."

7. Avoid game-playing. Some unscrupulous car dealers have been known to throw your car keys on the roof so you can't leave until you drive off in a new car. Make a phone call before you go, ask the used-car manager what the value of your trade-in is. If you get a negative feeling on the phone, you'll want to scratch that dealership off your list and save yourself a trip. Salespeople may also try to hold on to your driver's license and registration. Carry a copy of your driver's license to give them and don't part with the registration until you're in the finance office.

8. Explore the tax advantage. All but eight states allow you to pay sales tax on the purchase price of the new vehicle minus what the dealer is giving you for your car trade-in. The reduction in sales tax in states with rates of 9 percent to 11 percent can add up to substantial savings. You may be able to save $1,000 or more, so check your state's tax advantage.

No comments: - The internets fastest growing blog directory Blogging Fusion Blog Directory My Zimbio
Top Stories