I'm a car expert – my seven tips when speaking to salesmen at a dealership… and what you should never do | The Sun

A car expert has shared seven tips for speaking to a salesman when buying a motor.

Kevin Wilson advised drivers how to make sure they get the best deal and don't get talked into extra costs.

Writing for Car and Driver he urged customers to prepare early and avoid some costly mistakes along the way.

First of all, his most important tip was to have a plan set out before you walk through the door.

Going in without any idea of what you want is a one-way ticket to a big bill, so he recommended having your target car in your mind from the get-go.

This includes knowing the value of any trade-in car, the down payment you can muster up and your budget for monthly payments.


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Likewise, he issued a word of caution over discussing a potential trade-in too early.

Kevin explained: "It’s almost always possible—with time and effort—to sell an old car privately for more than the dealer offers in trade. 

"Research the value of your trade-in beforehand but decline offers or pressure to discuss it until after you’ve settled the price on the new car.

"If it turns out that you’re “upside down” on the old car—that is, you owe more money on it than you’re getting in trade—you probably don’t belong in a new-car dealership yet."

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One thing you mustn't do, he added, is let your dealer talk you into rolling the debt onto a new loan, as it can cause costs to mount up.

Thirdly, Kevin urged motorists not to allow sales reps to steer them towards a car they don't want.

Dealers will often try and direct buyers towards stock they are struggling to shift, so having a firm idea of what you want is doubly important.

The next three tips all centred on specific things to avoid during the sale process.

For example, Kevin warned that you should never let a dealer have your keys or driver's licence.

He said that this is often done under the guise of "security" but can double as a tactic to keep you in the showroom until they've got you to agree to a sale.

Likewise, he advised against letting a dealer run a full credit check as it is unnecessary and can potentially harm your credit score.

One will have to be performed eventually but, according to Kevin, this should never be carried out until you're "well on your way to completing a deal".

And negotiating monthly payments is also out to help stick to the limits of your budget.

Kevin said: "Remember, you’re in the dealership to buy a vehicle, not to wedge a vehicle payment into your monthly budget.

"If you started with a plan that includes the maximum price you will pay for the vehicle based on your own affordability limits, the monthly payments should be a byproduct of the negotiation."

Finally, he tried to take some of the pressure off drivers, telling them not to feel like they have to buy a new vehicle straight away.

Overeagerness and rushing can weaken your negotiating position and even lead to you paying over the odds, he said.

Instead, take time to consider your offers and keep the power of walking away from the table in mind.

After all, they are the ones trying to sell the car to you.


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It comes after two major dealerships are set to close in days as bosses blame a "changing marketplace".

Meanwhile, an EV expert explained why electric cars won't be popular until a significant change comes about.

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