Honest Car Dealer’s Frequently Asked Questions

Couple Buying Car

It probably doesn’t surprise you that we at Honest Car Dealer frequently get repeat questions from drivers. As your source for the truth in the sometimes shady car-buying world, we do our best to give you access to quick and reliable answers. This section will be consistently updated with answers to all of your most pressing questions—the kind many auto dealers don’t want to answer.

How Do I Negotiate the Best Price for a New Car?

The best time to negotiate for a new car is when you know the automaker is releasing the next model year and the dealer needs to clear up space in their showroom. At that point, some are even willing to take a small loss to get the vehicle out the door. Don’t be afraid to negotiate with your APR, too; one of the best ways to save in the long term is by bringing your interest rate down.

How Do I Negotiate the Best Price for a Used Car?

Drivers often have much more wiggle room on a used car than on a new car, especially if there is little or no documentation of maintenance or repair work. If you don’t have evidence of proper maintenance, that could indicate a risk of future problems and give you room to haggle.

How Do I Get the Most for My Trade-In?

The best way to get the most for your trade-in vehicle is to take great care of it and document that care every step of the way. Save your maintenance and repair invoices and keep a detailed record of all that’s been done to your car.

Are All Car Dealers Out to Scam Me?

Not at all. While there are still unscrupulous car dealers out there, many are just trying to make an honest living. Be sure to decide for yourself if you really need that extended warranty, though.

Are Dealerships Really the Best Place to go for Maintenance or Repair Work?

No. The best place for you to go for maintenance or repair work on your vehicle is a mechanic that you trust. In some cases, especially for very new cars, that means going to the dealership, but you can often receive the same quality of auto work at a corner garage for a fraction of the price.

Do I Have to Worry About Hidden Fees?

The short answer here is “probably.” While it will vary from dealer to dealer, it is rare that you will see a bottom-line price quoted to you until all of the paperwork is ready. Don’t hesitate to ask for an out-the-door price quote up front, but don’t be surprised if an auto dealer tries to tack on a processing fee or something similar.

What is a CarFax?

CarFax is one of a number of organizations that provide drivers and auto dealers with detailed vehicle history reports. If you’re buying a used car, be sure to ask about the CarFax report, and remember that a vehicle without a detailed history may be a riskier purchase—a fact you can use to negotiate a lower price if you think it’s worth that risk.

Where Should I Look for Damage on a Used Car?

While some damage will be obvious, if your vehicle is listed as having never been in a collision, we suggest you poke around in some less obvious places and see if there is any evidence of damage or rust before committing. The rear wheel wells and anything under the carpeted area in the trunk are great places to look for hasty touch-up jobs used to hide any damage.

Should I Buy an Extended Warranty?

It depends. Extended warranties used to be a way for dealerships to line their pockets, but these days many cars last quite a long time, only developing issues after the basic warranties have expired. Do your research on past models and try to negotiate a good deal if you do decide to buy an extended warranty.

Who Should I Buy an Extended Warranty From?

While you can go somewhere else to get your extended warranty, one of the best parts about buying it from the dealership is being able to use it as a bargaining chip in your negotiations. We have had drivers who have been able to negotiate a lower interest rate with the addition of an extended warranty, saving more money than if they hadn’t added on the warranty coverage!