New Car Dealers Tips

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Can I really do my car shopping completely online?

Online Car Shopping

While it is entirely possible to complete most of your car shopping online from research to car quotes, there really is no such thing as an online car dealer. Ultimately, no matter whether you conduct all your contact by e-mail and regular mail before having the car delivered to your doorstep, there is a bricks-and-sticks new car dealer involved somewhere along the line.

Consumers are unable to order direct from the manufacturer and it's unlikely that that will be an option to do so anytime soon. If you want to check out new car models, features, benefits, and add-ons, you can very often find very accessible information on the manufacturer's Web site.

*You can find a list of most commercial automobile manufacturer's Web sites in the annual Consumer Reports guides to new and used cars.

Where can I find a list of new car dealers in my area?

New Car Dealer Directories

If you are looking for a new car dealership in, say, Chicago, you could do a Web search on "new car dealer Chicago." However, what's to say the results you turn up are reliable? Instead, go to any one of the well-established, reliable auto sites such as,, or There, you can simply enter your zip code and the make and model of the car you are looking for. In a matter of seconds the site will provide you with a list of dealers in your local area that deal in that style car.

One thing to beware of is that there may be other, equally reputable dealers in your local market that are not included in the list (that is because dealers join these networks as part of an overall marketing effort). It is possible that a great dealer with outstanding selection and values simply has enough traffic on the lot that he doesn't need Internet referrals.

How do I know if a dealer has a good reputation?

Dealer Reputation

An important part of deciding what new car dealer to conduct business with is that dealership's reputation for service after the sale. If you are wondering about a dealer's reputation, check out While certainly not an exhaustive resource, the database includes reviews of dealerships by actual customers. You can search for dealers by state and manufacturer (you can also write your own review if you are so inspired).

Another resource that can help you find out about a dealer is the Better Business Bureau (BBB) in the area where the dealership is located. You can find out if there have been any complaints lodged against the dealer and whether the dealer resolved them satisfactorily. Visit the BBB's Web site to find an office in your area.

How can I get the most for my trade-in?

Trade-in Allowance Savvy

Even though the honeymoon might be over for you and your car, it may surprise you to learn that auto dealerships are all-too-happy to court your Cadillac. Even though the salesperson may act indifferent toward your trade, the fact of the matter is that some of the dealerships best profits are realized on reselling cars they take in trade.

To get the most for your trade, clean the car up before you go the dealer and check with online used car pricing guides (such as Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds) to find out what your car is actually worth in trade. Only then can you begin to negotiate intelligently.

Where can I find reviews of car buying Web sites?

Car Buying Web Site Reviews

Educate yourself! If you plan to conduct some or most car shopping (online or on the lots), check out's review of car buying Web sites. It includes reviews of

• Consumer Guide

• Auto Trader

• Edmunds

• GM BuyPower

• New Car Test Drive

• Price Quotes

• Autobytel



• Kelley Blue Book

Before making a large investment in a car, you owe it to yourself to do research. A new car dealer or online car dealer is out to make a sale and it is not guaranteed that these individuals are honest. Be smart and learn the facts—you'll be glad you did.

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Patricia Walters-Fischer