Why the Well-Known Sites Aren't Best
Websites such as TrueCar and Car Woo say they have the primary purpose of creating a price war between local dealers. While they are good services, they may not be able to help you score the lowest price possible on your next auto. It depends on the commissions and fees involved. Services similar to TrueCar may require a $50 fee right out of your pocket. Some are said to take several hundreds of dollars in commission, which is often recouped by the dealer out of your bank account.
Fees and commission aren't the only downsides to these big guns in auto quoting. Quotes from TrueCar and its direct competitors aren't always honored by the dealerships they work with, according to Jalopnik. They're also not always the lowest quotes you can find online. Getting quotes directly from the dealer through TrueDealerCost is likely to result in a lower offer.
A Better Way
How can you get the lowest possible price? You just have to do a little bit of negotiation on your own. You'll be spending time at the dealership anyway, since you have to test drive a car or two. After you've chosen a vehicle, go home (when you test drive, tell the salesman you're not ready to buy). A day or two later, you should return for negotiations. There's a simple way to negotiate a car price. Only a few steps are required.
- Get price quotes.
- Find the best one.
- Visit the dealership from which the second-best quote came and ask them if they can beat the best quote.
- If they can't beat it, try the dealer who gave you the next-best quote.
See how simple that is? It's the method we've recommended for many years.
Something to remember about this process is that you will be pressured to accept a deal from every dealer you visit. You just need to remember that you can walk out at any time. Just say "no thanks" and leave. Don't accept a deal until you know you're getting a good one, or at least a fair one. You can look around at any market price estimator, such as the one at edmunds.com, to get an idea of a fair price. However, your strategy and the little bit of extra work you'll do should be enough to earn a better price than that. After all, you're going to be more prepared than the average shopper in your local market.
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