This Guide will walk you through what to look out for when buying from a dealership.

Used car buying guide


This page will help familiarize you with some dealership's habits. The first thing to remember is that they are in business for one thing, to make money. Some take great pride in their vehicle selection and have high standards in regards to the quality, while others are simply looking to get rid of their inventory. It's important for you to feel comfortable with both the dealership as well as the individual sales associate, so we will take some time to go through a few things everyone should be aware of.

To begin, there will be a few sales associates who would rather take you into the office and pull up a credit report to determine your 'buying-ability' than walk with you out on their sales lot. Don't be afraid to tell them that you are there to go car shopping, not finance company shopping. If you have credit issues, it might be a good idea to talk to your bank or credit union to see if they will approve you for a vehicle loan prior to looking at any vehicles.


When it comes to the price of the car, it should be clearly marked in the window. Some dealerships, however, don't place the cost on the vehicle so you have no choice but to find a sales associate. Reasons for this may vary from wanting personal contact with their customers, to the 'follow me into my office' routine. If you ask a sales associate the price of a car and they ask you to follow them into their office while they look it up for you and you don't want to follow them, just say, 'I will wait here; please bring the car keys back with you.' If the dealership chooses not to place the price in the window, then the sales associate should know the price; besides, how can they expect to sell a vehicle if they don't even know how much it is? If you decide to test drive the vehicle, they might require some information from you, however be sure you don't sign a credit application until you have made the decision to purchase the car!


Trading your current Vehicle?

Trading in your current vehicle can be a very frustrating experience. If you are thinking about using your current vehicle as a trade, you might want to consider selling it yourself if you are able to. The main reason is because you will most likely get more money for the car if you sell it. If you don't have a clear title however, trading your vehicle might be the only way to purchase the new one as the dealership will be able to pay off your current balance and in some cases, add any leftover negative equity onto your new purchase. Most dealerships will go by what is known as the 'Black Book' value when it comes to appraising your vehicle. Keep in mind that many times the dealer will turn around and sell your car on their lot for a profit, meaning they made money on the car you bought from them, as well as the one you traded in.

Another thing to watch is the reaction of the sales associate as you are using The Auto Evaluator to help you in making your purchasing decision. This system, as we have stated before, is to help you make an educated buying decision for yourself. There will be instances where the vehicle will show up all green, and all Certified Pre-Owned vehicle should. The sales associate should be more than willing to assist you by pressing the brake pedal and such items which require assistance, that is if they are trying to help you find a quality automobile. Purchasing a car is a big decision, yet many sales associates try to rush it, so don't let them.



This page is still under construction

We are not affiliated with any other automotive web site, company, or lending institution. We give our customers the tools they need to make an educated purchasing decision for themselves. We offer no opinions in regards to which manufacturer, make, or model a customer should purchase. This system has been designed around actual car buyers who experienced problems, some severe, and is beneficial to use whether you are going by yourself, or bringing someone to help you look at the vehicle. The program is 'dealership friendly' and has been developed with cooperation from Auto Mechanics, Sales Consultants, and Sales Managers. The Auto Evaluator is a guide, not a guarantee and always consult a qualified mechanic. The Auto Evaluator and all it contains is a TradeMark of Mistar Enterprises, LLC.