You’re more likely to get a reliable vehicle when buying from a car dealership. And there are added perks to consider such as the ability to trade in your vehicle and access finance. However, it’s still worth doing your research before you choose a dealership. Some dealerships may not be as trustworthy or as suitable for your needs. Below are just 7 tips for making sure that you choose the right car dealer.
Know roughly what car you want
Certain dealerships specialise in certain types of car or certain makes. Knowing what type of car you’re looking for can help you to narrow down your search. You may find that specialist dealers are a better choice because they have expert knowledge on the type of car you’re after. For example, if you’re looking for a Citroen, it could be worth focusing on Citroen dealers who may be able to offer advice and even potentially help you track down a specific model. Choose a general dealership, and you may only get general advice.
Browse their inventory online
Before visiting a dealership, it could be worth checking their inventory online first. If the range of cars isn’t great or there are red flags such as incorrect information or bad photos, you may want to consider giving this dealership a miss. It’s true that not all car dealers are digitally savvy and that some may have more cars on display that haven’t been listed online, but in most cases a good dealership will be able to keep on top of this.
Check out online reviews
Online reviews can be a telltale sign as to whether a dealership can be trusted. You’re unlikely to find a dealership with positive reviews across the board – particularly a used car dealership – but most trustworthy dealerships should have at least a 3.5 rating on Google and several recent positive reviews. If there are several negative recent reviews or no reviews at all, you may want to consider avoiding the company.
Look into finance options
Most dealerships offer finance. The best dealership will be able to link you up to multiple finance companies and will be able to get you multiple quotes to choose from. Bear this in mind if you’re unable to buy a vehicle in cash.
Make sure they offer a test drive
A trustworthy dealership shouldn’t have any concerns offering a test drive (unless, of course, you don’t own a licence). If a car dealership keeps making excuses for not allowing a test drive, this could be a sign that they’re trying to hide a fault with the vehicle. All in all, never buy unless you’ve taken the car for a test drive.
Visit a few dealerships
Visiting a few dealerships gives you a good idea as to how the quality of service differs within your area. It also allows you to compare prices and perks. Don’t just visit one dealership in your area and buy from them straight away unless you’ve used them before and had many good experiences.
Determine if you trust the people
It’s important that the staff at the dealership give off the right impression. If they seem clueless, seedy or too eager to force you into a sale, then you may want to view this as a red flag. Go with your instincts – if a car salesman does not fill you with confidence, don’t buy from them.