The Importance of Researching Car Dealerships Before Visiting

Car buyers are visiting dealerships less and less because most initial research occurs online. If dealerships can streamline the process, they can quickly get customers in and out. The salesperson will want your contact information before you take the car for a spin to follow up and answer any questions you may have.

Know What You Want

Before going to a Kia dealer in Harrisburg, it’s essential to have a good idea of what kind of car you want and how much you can afford. This can help you avoid getting upsold into a vehicle that isn’t a good fit or into an auto loan with interest rates too high for your budget. Before heading to the dealership, call or email dealerships with the cars you are interested in and ask for the total selling price (including any additional accessories or services). This can help you understand pricing. It’s also a good idea to shop early in the week to get a salesperson’s undivided attention and negotiate prices more effectively. You should also be prepared to walk away if you can’t reach an agreement on the price of your desired car.

Know What You Can Afford

Knowing what you can afford before entering the dealership is a good idea. This will prevent you from being sucked into an unaffordable car loan or getting “upsold” into a vehicle you don’t want. It can be helpful to use handy online calculators and phone apps that convert a sales price into a monthly payment. Also, it can help to learn about a dealer’s pricing strategy. For example, it is common practice for dealerships to pay a certain amount of money, called a holdback, to the manufacturer when they buy the car. It’s also important to be familiar with any additional fees that may apply, such as dealer prep or delivery fees. Often, these fees are included in the out-the-door price and can be challenging to find on your purchase receipt.

Do Your Research

When you decide on a car, make sure to research it extensively. Knowing what you are buying and how much it will cost is essential. This will help you avoid dealers who use high-pressure tactics and unknown numbers. A quality dealer will let you compare vehicles side-by-side and provide clear and accurate information about prices, financing options, and warranty choices. They will also offer email price alerts so you can stay in control and never miss a great deal. Researching dealerships can save you time and money when purchasing a new or used car. Honesty should always come first when spending your hard-earned dollars! This is especially true with car dealerships. Remember, this industry has a severe trust problem, with most buyers reporting that they don’t trust salespeople.

Ask for Recommendations

Car dealerships have monthly, quarterly, and annual sales goals that they have to meet. Some salespeople will do whatever they can to meet those goals, even if it means giving you a bad deal. Some dealerships may recommend you pile on a bunch of add-on products, such as interior stain protection, anti-theft devices, and rustproofing. While some of these products are important, you can get them much cheaper outside the dealership. To avoid this, shop early in the week when you’ll have a salesperson’s undivided attention and the ability to ask questions, go on test drives and negotiate the final price. This will help you avoid the pitfalls of some unsavory dealers. You can also get a head start by arranging financing before you visit the dealership.

Schedule a Test Drive

Car dealerships used to call people who inquired about vehicles but didn’t purchase anything “tire kickers.” But that is changing. During the test drive, drive vehicles that match your specific needs. For example, try driving the same routes repeatedly if you are interested in a vehicle for your commute. This will help you simulate your regular commute and see how the car handles on paved, non-asphalt, and rocky roads. Also, remember to bring a companion with you for the test drive. This will help you stay focused on driving and not get distracted by the jabbering salesperson. Additionally, some dealerships will let you start price negotiations over the phone or via email if you want to avoid visiting the dealer in person.