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When purchasing a new or pre-owned vehicle there are an entire list of things to watch for, to expect, and that you should do. You should always buy from a franchised dealership for a number of reasons. The most important reason is recourse. Should something go wrong with a vehicle you've purchased, the dealership usually will fix it without much of a fuss. Also if they don't declare certain things to you such as rebuilt status, accidents, out of province/state; you can get your money back and the amount declared on a bill of sale for your trade value. You can review most dealerships records on-line and should do that before making the decision to spend thousands of dollars. Also check for certification levels. For example, if it's a Chrysler Dodge Jeep retailer, make sure it's a 5 star dealer. For Ford, make sure they're Blue Oval certified. After researching the cars you want and the dealers set a day for viewing the vehicles. Go and look at every vehicle on your list. If this takes more then a day fine. Most people get so excited about the new car that they buy on impulse. DON'T! You'll thank me. Don't let a salesperson lead you into anything. But still be kind to them they will control the sale later. It doesn't matter how good you think you are at negotiating...they're better, trust me. After all they do it every day, and you do it maybe once evry 3 to 5 years. When your test drives are complete then ask to see all records on the vehicle. Accident reports, Carproof/Carfax, etc. Ask to see their service report and inspection on the vehicle. If it's new it won't have one. It doesn't need one, it's new. Write all of this information down. Show up with a book and a clipboard. Most salespeople won't want to deal with you. But the ones that do are the better salespeople and the most likely to be there for you and follow up with you in the future. Do give the salesman your name and number before leaving him. If he follows up he has good work ethic and a good management staff. Next step will be to give the cars on your list a number. one to how ever many vehicles you looked at. One being the one you want the most. Then set a day to buy the car and negotiate.

Before you go in call and set an appointment with your salesperson. Keep the appointment. If you show up the salesperson will think he has the deal in the bag. The chances of you buying the car statistically are huge. Having said that, he/she will be so excited your there that they will work super hard to get the deal for you. By that I mean he/she will work the management to take a "skinny deal". Look on-line before you do go in and have an entire book of print outs on other ads for the vehicle and what they're selling for. Make sure the kilometers and options on them are relatively close. Also go onto the Toyota or Chrysler website and they have a tool for estimating your trade in. You can use that not only for getting and idea what your vehicle is worth but also to get a rough idea what they paid for theirs. If you have a trade in don't tell them. If asked then just say you're not sure if you want to trade it in and "let's just deal with the vehicle I'm buying first". They won't like that but you're the boss. A dealer wants to pay wholesale or blackbook for yours and want you to pay retail for theirs. A good indication for what theirs should sell for is to take the high wholesale or book value and add 1500 dollars to it. Anything under that is a good deal. If it's a new car then ask to see the cost and the rebates. If it's a car or small truck or small SUV then offer them $500 over invoice minus all rebates. If it's a truck, large SUV, or van then offer $1000 minus all rebates. But only after they've presented numbers first. If they ask you to make an offer first don't. Tell them to give you the best deal possible. They may try to say no you offer that's the way it works here and blah blah blah. They may also say the sticker is the best price but if you want to pay less then you can make an offer. Again you are the boss. If your not the boss leave. Don't waste your time with them. You may find on your way out the door they'll grab you and say "wait wait wait". Do wait and see what they can do. If you're not 100% completely satisfied with the outcome leave. Think about it. Don't leave a deposit. Some stores will try to get you to leave a deposit before you even start to negotiate. Don't. You don't have to pay to see numbers. When they are presenting numbers ask to see payments and the number for their car and the number for your trade. Add up the payments and see what the car is really going to cost you in the end. If they don't want to show you this then again, leave. If you make a deal that makes you smile then the next step is financing. Make sure you've spoken to your bank first. See what the best rate and payment is going to be. Also find out what the total of all payments is going to be. The finance department will try to get you to finance with them because they get a kick back from the bank on it. if their rates are better and the totall of all payments works out better then fine. Also ask to see the rate sheet and all rebates. And again, if the won't show you leave. But do all of this while being nice. They will likely try to sell you warranties, protection packages, life insurance etc. manufacturers vehicle warranties are good. You should stay away from all others. Protection packages are good but you should never pay over 800 for all 4 items in a protection package. Life insurance is self explanatory, if you need it get it. Don't buy tire warranties, or vehicle etching. Also do not pay the administration fee. Its purely profit. Don't buy lojack or anything else weird. Don't buy accessories at the time of purchase because they will jack up the prices. Make sure that all the things they promised to do is written on the bill of sale. VERY IMPORTANT. Make sure if they promised you a courtesy car its written on the bill of sale and signed by both parties. Make sure you read the bill of sale and all the numbers. Use a calculator if you need to. Ask for help. They will help you. When you pick up your vehicle make sure everything that was promissed is complete and done. Don't take the vehicle without these things being done. It won't get done if you do, or it will be a total inconvenience for you to do them later. Make sure the salesperson follows up with you and make sure to thank the owner or dealer principle. If they aren't there a Manager will do. This way they will feel good about you practically stealing the vehicle from them and for the extra time it took to do business with you. Other then that I'm sure that's the car buying process.

Try one of these:

Don't Get Taken Every Time : The Ultimate Guide to Buying or Leasing a Car in the Showroom or on the internet by Remar Sutton

Edmunds.com Strategies for Smart Car Buyers

by The Editors at Edmunds.com

Ins and Outs of the Used Car Business: How to Buy Without Getting Screwed by Esquire Jeff a. Connelly

Car Shopping Made Easy: Buying or Leasing, How to Get the Car by Jerry Edgerton

The Used Car Buyer's Manual: How to Find the Best Buy on a Used Car by David J. Buechel

The Insider's Guide to Buying a Car by Bill Robinson

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Q: Are there any guides that can help someone who is buying or leasing a car become more informed about the process?
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