Research prices in your area so you can recognize a good deal. Car prices vary by model, time of year and location. Visit websites, such as edmunds.com, that have forums where people can report the actual price they have paid for certain makes and models. This will give you a baseline for determining a cheap price.
Print out information to bring along to the dealer. You can get invoice prices from sites with Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book. Print those out, along with forum postings listing recent deals in your area. This will give you ammunition if a dealer tries to insist that you are looking for an unrealistic price.
Find the most recent rebates and incentives on the model for which you are shopping. Look at both consumer promotions and factory to dealer incentives. A dealer may be reluctant to share his incentives with you, but he may do so in order to clinch a sale.
Shop for your car at the end of the month and choose a slow time of year for car sales, if possible. Sales people are often hustled to make their quotas or win incentives as the month draws to a close. They are even more desperate during slow periods, such as the holiday season, when few people are in the market for a car. They will often sell a vehicle cheaper just to get the sale. July through October is also a good time if you are willing to buy the current model year. This is the period when dealers clear old inventory to make way for the next year.
Refuse to pay added fees. A dealer may try to add profit-boosting fees after you have agreed on a price. Edmunds.com says that sales tax and vehicle registration fees are legitimate. However, documentation fees are strictly a way to add profit; they can run several hundred dollars in states where they are not capped. Refuse to pay an excessive documentation fee. If the dealer says it is required by law, let him keep it on the contract, but have him subtract it from the car price.
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