8 Sales Tricks That Car Dealerships Don’t Want You To Know About

8 Sales Tricks That Car Dealerships Don't Want You To Know About

As soon as you step onto the forecourt at a car dealership, the salespeople will be thinking of ways to get you to spend your money. It’s their job to convince you to spend a lot more money than you had originally planned to and they’ve got a lot of different tricks up their sleeve to help them do that. Buying a car is probably the second biggest purchase that you’ll make in your life after buying a house so it’s important that you don’t overspend. Going in with a clear budget in mind is so important here. Think about what you can actually afford and look into some of your financing options, and then go into the dealership with a solid number in mind. As long as you make it clear that you’re not going to go over that budget, you should be able to avoid overspending.

However, it’s also important that you know how to get around all of the different tricks that they’ll use to convince you to spend more money so you can get the best possible deal on your car. These are some of the common sales tricks that car dealerships don’t want you to know about.

Limited Time Offers

Limited time offers are a common marketing tactic in any industry and car dealerships use them a lot. As soon as you go in and show a bit of interest in a car, the salesperson will tell you that it’s a great car for a great price, but only if you snap it up right away. They’ll tell you that the price is a limited time offer and it’s only going to last another week or so. If you don’t agree to buy the car on the spot, you’ll either miss out on the deal or somebody more sensible will come along and get it before you get the chance. The thing is, this is usually not true and if you came back a month later, you’d still get the car for the same price. As a general rule, any time a salesperson is pressuring you to buy a car on the spot before you have too much time to think about it, you should always say no. It could also be the case that the car isn’t as great as it appears on the surface or the price isn’t actually that great, which is why they don’t want to give you time to look around at other options.


A lemon is a car that has some severe defects that are very difficult to repair and have a serious impact on the safety and driveability of the car. When you look around the dealership, the salespeople aren’t going to tell you that a car is a lemon, in fact, they’re likely to push you towards it and try to get you to buy it so they can get rid of it. That’s why research is such an important part of choosing the best used car and avoiding a lemon. If they come at you with a price that seems too good to be true, it probably is. They’re just trying to offload a terrible car on you and the low price is designed to encourage you to make a snap decision without first doing any research.

Free Extras

If the salesperson starts throwing in free extras like a great stereo, just keep in mind that they have an agenda and they’re not just doing you a favour. This is a common tactic that they use, especially on people that are buying their first car and don’t necessarily realize that a lot of these free extras are pretty useless. They’ll throw in all of these extras for free so it seems like you’re getting a great deal but in reality, the actual price of the car is inflated anyway, so you are basically paying for those extras. It’s another common way that they’ll try to get you to pay for a car that isn’t that great as well. If they offer you any extras, just tell them that you don’t need it and you’d rather pay a reduced price for the car on its own.

Low Balling

Low balling is when you find a car that you’re interested in and the dealer comes back at you with a ridiculously low price. They’ll tell you that you’re free to go to every other dealership in the city to compare prices because they’re safe in the knowledge that you won’t find a better deal anywhere else. If you do compare prices, you probably won’t find a better deal anywhere else so you go back to the dealership and that’s when the problems start. The salesperson will go back to their manager and then tell you that unfortunately, they can’t actually offer it for that low price but the price they can give you is still good. The hope is that you’ll still go with them because you’ve already spent ages looking around every dealership in the city and you just want to get your new car as soon as possible, and sometimes, it works. If you want to avoid this, ask them to clarify with the manager that they can actually sell it for the price they’re offering right away.


Buying a car isn’t always the most exciting process and it involves a lot of walking around car dealerships, so most people want to get it done quite quickly, which is why salespeople often use stalling tactics. Low balling is one form of stalling but they’ll try all sorts of other things like pretending that they can’t find the keys or having lengthy conversations with the manager in the back office. The hope is that you’ll start getting impatient and it’ll push you into making a decision faster. In these situations, you have to call their bluff and just stick it out for as long as it takes to get a good deal.

Spraying And Polishing

If you’re looking at a used car and it has recently been sprayed or machine polished, you should always ask why. Often, the cars will be sprayed or polished to cover up some accident damage which would put you off buying the car. If they aren’t upfront about the damage, it’s likely because it will cause you some problems in the future. Before you buy any car, you should look at the repair history so you know about any problems that it has had in the past and whether they’re likely to recur in the future. Spraying and polishing isn’t always a big problem and it might be that the car has been in an accident that caused a bit of superficial damage like scratches or small dents. That shouldn’t affect the performance of the car at all so you don’t need to worry. However, if the salesperson is trying to hide previous accidents from you, that is a big red flag and it means that there is probably some lasting damage to the car which is going to cost you money in repairs in the future.

Puppy Dogging

You might think that the salesperson is just doing you a favour if they let you take a test drive and then say that you can keep the car overnight to get to grips with it, but they’re just trying to make a sale. The idea behind puppy dogging is that you will fall in love with the car after you’ve had it for the night and then you’ll be convinced to buy it, whether you can really afford it or not. They also hope that you’ll buy it on the spot before shopping around and finding potentially better deals. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t say yes to a test drive, it’s a great way to see whether you like a car or not. Just don’t let it cloud your judgment and make sure that you’re not making any snap decisions without shopping around a bit first.

Finance ‘Falling Through’

This is a common trick that is usually aimed at people with a difficult credit history. The way that it works is that you’ll find a car that you want and agree to pay for it on finance. Then a couple of weeks later, you’ll get a call from the dealership to say that the finance has fallen through because of your poor credit rating and the actual amount that you’ll have to pay has now gone up. If you try to dispute this, they’ll point you to the small print on the contract that you signed and there won’t be anything that you can do to get out of it. The important thing here is that you read the contract in full before signing anything so they can’t catch you out with things like this. You should also think about your budget properly and don’t stretch to a car that you can’t really afford.

Now that you’re aware of the tricks that they will use, you can make sure that you don’t get caught out by salespeople when you go to buy your next car.



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