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  • What's the Cash Price? on Random Questions to Ask at a Car Dealership

    (#9) What's the Cash Price?

    This is a separate question from asking about the total financing costs, since it can be very revealing about the extra charges you're getting hit with. Some dealers will tell you flat out they won't sell the car for cash. If you hear that, run. These dealers are buy-here-pay-here loan sharks, and will ream you on interest and unexpected charges. 
  • Can You Catch Up on the Service? on Random Questions to Ask at a Car Dealership

    (#10) Can You Catch Up on the Service?

    If you're looking at a used car with 100,000 miles on the odometer, odds are pretty good that it's got an expensive service coming up soon - could be spark plugs, a timing belt, a full fluid replacement, transmission filter change, almost anything. When you go home to think about your purchase (which you should), go online and look up the manufacturer service schedule. If the car is coming up on a big service interval, have the dealer perform it as a condition of sale. 
  • Show Me the Carfax on Random Questions to Ask at a Car Dealership

    (#5) Show Me the Carfax

    Yeah, it's an advertising tagline, but no dealer who isn't trying to scam you will have a problem with showing you the vehicle history. And it's important. After Hurricane Katrina alone, hundreds of thousands of flood-damaged cars went to auction, only to be cosmetically restored and sold again as "dealer certified" automobiles. But electrical and chassis damage from saltwater rendered almost every one of them a ticking time bomb of failure. Don't take for granted that your car isn't a refurbished wreck, or even reported stolen from another state. If nothing else, having the Carfax in hand may help to put liability for that sort of thing back on the dealer. 
  • Is It on the Lot? on Random Questions to Ask at a Car Dealership

    (#7) Is It on the Lot?

    Here's a common scenario: you find the car of your dreams on a dealer lot, but you'd really prefer it black instead of green. Or maybe you want the 410-horsepower V-8, and not the 360-horse engine. Dealer says, "no problem, I can get it for you." Dealers trade cars back and forth like kids trade Yu-Gi-Oh cards, and this might be completely legit. But bear in mind the terms of the deal may change, since the black car might have options or add-ons you're not willing to pay for, and you'll probably get charged an extra delivery fee for it. 
  • What Aftermarket/Dealer Parts Are on the Car? on Random Questions to Ask at a Car Dealership

    (#3) What Aftermarket/Dealer Parts Are on the Car?

    Would you drive to Pep Boys and shell out $200 for a pair of mud flaps and stick-on fish-eye mirrors? Of course not. But would you notice if your dealer were charging $45,750 instead of $45,550? Dealers have a longstanding habit of "doing things" with cars - adding "custom" dealer touches and then charging customers ten times what they're worth. Ask about aftermarket alarms, tinted windows, or the "paint protection package" (aka "silicone wax"), and compare those charges to the market value of those add-ons. 
  • How Many Times Has This Car Been Repossessed? on Random Questions to Ask at a Car Dealership

    (#11) How Many Times Has This Car Been Repossessed?

    Why should this matter to you? Sure, the number of prior owners matters, but why repos? This can tell you a lot about the dealer, particularly if it's a buy-here-pay-here lot. These lots make money by charging people interest, letting them keep the car as long as possible, lulling the customer into a false sense of security, and then repossessing it in the last two months if the customer is one day late with payment. If the dealer tells you they've repo'd the same car seven times, then run for your life, and check to make sure you've still got your wallet. 

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About This Tool

The profit of car sales in the entire industry continues to decline, and the traditional dealership business model has caused many potential problems. In order to avoid being trapped during the purchase, many problems need to be solved by the car owner. Every car owner needs to ask what's the total cost including financing, it's one of the important questions when buying a new or used car.

This random tool generates 12 items, including the 12 important questions that should be asked at a car dealership.  You could check those questions here if you are considering buying a car. Welcome to leave a message and share your thoughts.   

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