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6 Secrets Car Dealerships Don’t Want You to Know

Could your bottom-line car price be impacted by car-buying secrets kept from you? Let TDECU help and finance your new car loan before you start shopping.

6 Secrets Car Dealerships Don’t Want You to Know


Car dealerships and their salespeople may not be transparent when helping you secure the best deal on your new or used vehicle. Find out what they may be hiding.

You have done the research, double-checked your finances, and now you are ready to buy a new or used car. Before you walk into a car dealership, beware of these six secrets dealerships keep from you that could affect your bottom line.

1. There is More Than Meets the Eye

Typically, car salespeople will not offer up information about a previous accident in the car of interest unless you request it. A car’s body may be spotless, but you never know what lurks underneath. Before buying a used car, check its history with Carfax, and familiarize yourself with your state’s lemon law.

The Texas lemon law protects consumers who buy a car that fails to meet quality and performance standards. A Carfax report includes the number of previous owners, past accidents, and service records that can prevent a big hassle, expensive repairs, or even having to take someone to court.

2. They Use a Different Credit Score

As part of your car-buying research, you likely went to Experian or Equifax to check your credit score. You walk into the dealership, happy and confident, knowing your score is ideal for a low-interest rate on a car loan. Your dealer, however, may show a lower credit score which could increase your loan payments.

Your car salesperson did not tell you they looked at your FICO auto score instead of the standard FICO credit score. An auto score gives more weight to past auto loans and the monthly payment history, and bad payment history will result in a lower score.

In order to know where you stand before car shopping, we recommend checking with your credit bureau to find your auto score at least a month before you begin your car-buying process.

3. You Do Not Have to Haggle

Most people agree that the worst part of car shopping is haggling with the salesperson over the price of the car. You have a sales price in mind, but getting to that number often involves a sales tactic of going back and forth with the sales manager or finance manager, which often results in them extending the sales process making you more likely to buy at a higher price.

Basic economic theory says competition leads to lower prices. Tell your salesperson upfront that you will go to their competitor if they cannot meet your requirements. If you do not feel your salesperson is giving you the deal you deserve, feel free to leave and go to another dealership. You can always return if you miss out on a good deal.

4: You Are Better Off Getting Your Loan Elsewhere

When you find the car you want at the price you want to pay, securing the best loan for you is important. More often than not, dealership financing is more expensive than what you can get from a credit union or traditional bank loan. Many dealers receive incentives to use specific lenders, and their commission results in a higher interest rate or monthly payment for you.

TDECU offers competitive interest rates, discounts, and flexible payment plans for new car loans to meet your needs. A TDECU car loan is available at nearly any dealership, just request it, or you can start with us first, qualify for your loan amount, and have all the details in hand before you even start car shopping.

5. Save Money by Buying at the End of the Month

Forget about the sticker price when you shop at the end of the month. Salespersons and their dealers frequently have monthly sales quotas and receive financial incentives from automakers to meet those goals. Similarly, end-of-quarter and end-of-year quotas can give you more negotiating room.

You may score the best price for a vehicle, free add-ons, a higher trade-in value, extended warranties, rebates, and more by stopping in the showroom the last few days of the month.

6. You Can Sell Your Car for More Money Than They Give You as a Trade-In

Kelley Blue Book (KBB) and Edmunds are guides for trade-in values for your car. Dealerships want to make a profit, so trading in your vehicle for the amount listed in the Kelley Blue Book is doubtful. However, when you sell your used car on your own, you have control over your asking price, allowing you to sell for a higher amount.

There is a caveat to this. If your dealership’s car inventory level is low, you may be able to get a better deal at the dealership.

Ready to Get Started on Your Car Loan?

We know that buying a car can be a hassle. We are here to make your loan process as seamless as possible. Fill out an online TDECU loan application today, or contact a TDECU car loan representative to finance your new car.

For more car-buying tips and tricks, visit our Advice Center Blog.

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