Best and Worst Negotiating Tactics

If you've made it through this whole guide and you intend to follow the recommendations, there's no doubt you're going to kick butt when you enter the minefield that is new-car buying. In case it hasn't been evident so far, here are a few parting thoughts on what helps and hurts your cause.

You'll Get a Better Deal If You . . .
  • prepare.
  • shop multiple sources for the car, the financing, the insurance and the buyer for your current car.
  • wait for a rebate offer and, overall, take plenty of time.
  • remain as emotionally detached as possible and hide any excitement from the dealer.
  • keep the various deals separate.
  • are flexible — with regard to make, model, trim level, color, equipment, etc.
  • accept that the dealer deserves some profit.
  • dress modestly.
You'll Get a Worse Deal If You . . .
  • don't prepare.
  • use dealerships alone to learn about the cars, financing, and all other related products and services.
  • are in a hurry.
  • reveal that you're in a hurry.
  • roll all of the deals (trade-in, financing, service contract, etc.) into one.
  • want a low-supply, high-demand vehicle, or you're inflexible regarding make, model, trim level, color and equipment.
  • are combative in negotiations.
  • dress in a manner that isn't consistent with what you tell the dealer.
© Cars.com 2/5/09