When sitting at the bargaining table, take the time to negotiate the price of the car before talking about your trade-in. Doing this will help you get the best price on both vehicles. To do this effectively do not discuss trade-ins until after you have settled on a price of the new vehicle.
Do not wait until you go car shopping to think about how you are going to finance your car. You need to arrive at the dealership with your car loan pre-qualified at a decent interest rate. You are almost always going to be able to get a better deal than the dealership would provide for you.
Consider selling your car privately, rather than trading it in for the new car you want. You will almost always get more for your car through a private sale than you would through a trade in. Even if the dealership makes it sound like they are giving you a great trade in value, they will likely raise the price somewhere else to make up for the difference.
It is a good idea to do plenty of research on cars before you ever go to a dealership. The more you know about a particular model, the better you can judge whether it is right for you. There are many online resources that let you compare different brands and models.
Find out all you can about rebates. You can either get a cash rebate, low loan interest rate or the dealer themselves gets the rebate in cash. It is the manufacturer who offers these rebates, not the dealership. This will only be available on cars available on the lot, of course.
Not every dealership or salesperson is the same. Salespeople are known to be aggressive, but this method doesn't work as well anymore. Nowadays, dealerships are aware that pleasing their customers will ensure that they come back. Do not fear walking away if your salesperson is overly pushy. Your business is up for grabs to any salesman in town, and they would all be delighted to work with you.
If you're purchasing a used car, don't sign any as-is warranties. You will end up regretting this decision. At the least, any dealer should provide a short term warranty for any car you buy. You will have no recourse of a major repair is needed immediately after you drive away from the dealer's lot.
If you see two price stickers on a car in a lot, you might want to head to a different location. This is a sign of a high pressure sales force who wants you to buy all the bells and whistles. If you think you can withstand their tactics, you can stay, but you may not get the best deal there.
When it comes to purchasing a car, whether new or pre-owned, you need to beef up on your negotiation skills. Cars are intentionally marked up because the sellers understand that a negotiation must take place. So make sure you NEVER pay sticker price for your vehicle and if you can't haggle, get someone to do it for you.
Understand the type of service department that you will be dealing with. Find out what other customers have to say. Call in to ask difficult questions they should know the answer to. Make sure that you stick with a dealer that is helpful and respectable.
When you want a car with certain features, you may have to special order it, but you may not be able to if the car comes from overseas. That said, the dealer may be able to call other lots to find the exact model you want and have it brought over for you, so ask for that option.
While you do have to put in some effort to make the car buying process simpler, it won't take a lot of work. Just use these tips and do what they say and you'll find buying a car is a piece of cake. Driving off the lot in a shiny new car is an exceptional feeling!