(1) Choose the right vehicle for you, utilizing Consumer Reports, the most reliable, accurate, and totally unbiased source of auto quality, reliability, safety, and value.
(2) Shop ONLINE for the lowest, honest price. Communication by phone and text are also useful. The lowest, honest price (aka out-the-door price) is the amount you can write your check for, present it to the dealer, and drive your car home. DO NOT VISIT A DEALERSHIP for any reason other than test driving the vehicle you have decided to buy or to pick up and pay for the vehicle you’ve chosen. When you physically enter a car dealership, you relinquish your control to the car salesman. You’re playing on his home turf, playing all by yourself against him and his highly trained, team.
(3) Shop as many dealerships as you can. Shopping online allows you the time to get the lowest price from, literally, dozens of dealerships, instead of maybe 3 or 4 if you had to physically visit each one. THE MORE PRICES YOU GET, THE LOWER THE PRICE YOU WILL PAY.
(4) BEWARE OF THIRD-PARTY AUTO BUYING SOURCES, like Car Guru, Auto Trader, and Cars.com. These three, and most others, allow their dealers to add thousands of dollars in hidden fees to the prices they post. Three exceptions are Costco, TrueCar, and Consumer Reports.
(5) If you finance your purchase, arrange that directly with your bank or credit union, preferably your credit union. If the company you work for doesn’t have a credit union, there are numerous credit unions you can join, independent of where you work.