How to buy a car from a used car salesman

how to buy a used car

Buying a car is something most people dread, especially if it’s from a salesman. The used car salesman stereotype is all too real and something I really can’t stand. I understand car salesman need to sell cars and if they don’t they make no money. This is a lot of pressure on them, especially when they’re all seen as manipulative liars.

In this post I want to share with you some tips on dealing with a used car salesman and my experience last night in attempting to work out a deal with one.

how to buy a car from a used car salesman

Buying a used car is a lengthy — and sometimes intimidating — process. That’s not supposed to scare you, it’s just the reality of the situation. First, you start with figuring out your budget. After that, you need to research the type of car you’d want to drive. Will a truck suit your needs, or do you need more passenger space? How about fuel-efficiency? Is hazardous weather a concern? If so, then you’ll end up needing to consider either 4WD or AWD. Then, you’ll have to research a dealership. Read some reviews, in order to find out which one is a good fit for you.

In the day and age of the internet, it makes it easier than ever to buy anything you want, including cars. Back in the day, before the internet, you had to go to stores and waste time SHOPPING AROUND. I like to shop around online. It’s fun, it’s fast, I can make notes on everything I see while taking screen shots, and I don’t have to deal with traffic or the public. You can also price shop in record time. I visited 30 car dealerships in a couple hours online without having to talk to any salesman.

After narrowing it down to 3 car dealerships via reviews and their inventory, I sent them a message. Each of them were very fast in getting back to me…they need to get paid…so they want to see you ASAP.


1. I like to wear plain clothes. Nothing flashy.

2. Search the web for info on the car you’re looking at so you have some knowledge. I caught one of the salesman in a couple lies. The car I was looking at required the highest octane to get the best fuel efficiency. He told me there is no such thing. I got the info right from Ford’s website. It was a Ford dealer.

3. Have a number in mind and stick to it on what you want to pay each month. This is difficult if you really love the car. Once you walk off the lot, they’re paid in full and have one less car to sell. If you fall on difficult times, it’s just you and the bank and the bank will take that car if you can’t afford it.

4. There is ALWAYS room to negotiate a price. The dealers know this and price their cars accordingly. Go visit Kelly Blue Book to find out what any car is worth before looking around.

5. If the car is selling for $22k, go down by an even number or multiples of 5. You could start by saying, I ONLY HAVE $20k TO WORK WITH. You could go $17k. Maybe that’s too low but it’s worked for some people. Make sure to check Kelly Blue Book first before you do this.

6. The car salesman will push to get you approved. The car dealership gets a kickback from the bank for setting up the loan through them. You may be able to get a lower loan from somewhere else. Check out Road Loans online. You can apply quickly online to see what you qualify for and what the interest rate will be. Once approved, you simply print out the approval with your loan number and the dealership is paid. Road loans is fast and legit. I used them with no issue. Road Loans works closely with all large dealerships and Carmax.

7. Blame it on a person who isn’t there. Say your wife or husband or boyfriend or girlfriend couldn’t make it and you need to talk it over with them. Disappear for 10 minutes while you pretend to be on the phone. They do the same thing to you. Create tension.

8. Mention you are looking at other cars but don’t make it too obvious. If you made an appointment, be 20 minutes late. When you meet them, just say, sorry I was late….I came from the last dealership and it took longer than I thought.

9. If you want a black car and they have the black car, say, WELL, IT’S NICE, AND NOT A BIG DEAL, BUT I WAS REALLY LOOKING AT A SILVER CAR. Just say, black gets too dirty too fast and you can’t stand that. Same with auto transmission. You can ask if they have manual transmission. If they say NO, then you can say, hmmm, I was hoping for that since I don’t care for auto transmission too much. By doing this they may take some off the price. They did it for my brother. He really wanted a black truck but said he wanted white. I think they took an extra $800 off for his TROUBLE.

10. Bring someone with you. Even if that someone doesn’t know anything about cars, they are moral support. They can throw in lies such as, HEY, I KNOW THIS CAR IS NICE BUT DO YOU LIKE IT MORE THAN THE RED ONE FROM YESTERDAY? The salesman doesn’t need to know you test drove a red one yesterday. It’s all a game, and one that can be fun. Don’t talk too much about details…it could give you away.

11. Don’t fall for the extras such as interior protection against spills or spraying the undercoat of your car against rust. All these are BS overpriced charges and usually they do NOTHING and charge you for it.

12. Walk away. If they won’t budge thank them for their time and say you do have a couple other places to visit because you really can’t spend much more. Dealers have met potential buyers in the parking lot on the way out, trying to sweeten the deal further.

used car salesman tactics


There was one dealership I wanted to visit. For some reason one salesman emailed me, then a 2nd took over. I worked with this guy via email for a couple days. I finally let him know via email I would not be showing up. The car was just too expensive for me I felt. He promised he would make it worthwhile for me and they are all about making deals. He said it would be worth my while. Just keep the appointment and we’ll talk. So I did, against my will.

I get there, ask for Andy, and it’s now a 3rd guy I never dealt with. Andy is just not there for some reason and this older italian used car salesman fast talker is showing me the car. He brings me to the back where he says it’s all ready for me, they were working on it for me in the back. Working on it for me? Boy you guys are smooth. This right away made me feel awkward.

I took the car for a test drive and loved it more than I thought I would. I really want this car now. As I pull up, he comes out the door and greets me with…SO WHAT VEHICLE WILL YOU BE TRADING IN? I CAN GET THE PAPERWORK STARTED RIGHT NOW.

I wasn’t even halfway out of the car yet when he hit me with these words. That was another uncomfortable thing you will hear.

As much as I loved the car I had to control myself and not show excitement. I brought a friend with who is better at car buying than me. I highly recommend this. Whether or not the person knows a lot about cars, they can be there for support and add things to the conversation you never thought of. A friend will also be there to take the tension off you.

It’s all frustrating and scary for most people buying cars. It’s a big purchase. I recommend surfing around online, making notes and taking screen shots of cars you are interested in. Save these screenshots to your phone and ipad and bring it will you. You can refer to these photos to let the dealer know what you are looking for instead of what they have. Make the game real. They will have no idea if what you are looking for is exactly what is in stock or not.

In my case I got them to come down by $2,000. That’s pretty good since the price was already lower than most dealers. What worked for me is showing frustration and demanding to speak to the manager. Why was I upset? The original salesman from the emails wasn’t there for my appointment. That did bother me and I used it to my advantage. I also mentioned I wanted a different color and it’s just a little out of my range and I can’t budge.

The salesman said, THIS CAR WON’T BE ON THE LOT FOR LONG….IT’S HIGHLY SOUGHT AFTER. I told him I understand that. I diffused his scare tactics with calm rebuttle and that was hard to do at times.

I hope you find the car you’re looking for.

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