6 things to look for in a used car dealership

Buying a used car is a great way to save money but it can be risky. If you buy a car from a reliable dealer that is honest with you about the condition and maintenance history, you shouldn’t have any problems. Unfortunately, not all used car dealers are honest and some of them will fail to mention any maintenance problems or give you an inflated price on the car. If you go with the wrong dealership, you will end up buying a money pit that constantly needs to be repaired and once you’ve signed the paperwork, there isn’t much that you can do about it. 

When you are choosing a used car dealership, there are a lot of different factors that you need to consider. It’s important that you don’t get distracted by low prices or sales tactics and you shop around before making your decision. These are some of the most important things to look for in a used car dealership. 

Readily Available Contact Details And Opening Hours 

This is something that people don’t tend to think about that much, but the contact details and opening hours on the dealership website tell you a lot about the company. If they’re a good dealership that is proud of what they have to offer, they will have a full list of contact details and opening hours. If you can only find an address and nothing else, that’s not a good sign because it suggests that they don’t want customers to be able to contact them easily.

Your relationship with the dealership won’t end when you drive off the lot, you may have questions or issues with the car in the following weeks and months. A bad dealership won’t want customers to contact them with these problems, so they won’t have readily available contact details on their site. 

THE LOCATION

Checking the location is important for practical reasons because you need to be able to get to the dealership. However, a lot of people make the mistake of going to a dealership that is far away because they can get a better price. If you do this, you need to consider what happens in the future if you need to visit the dealership. You may have to pay your finance in person at the dealership and if you have any maintenance issues that need to be fixed at the dealership, that’s going to be difficult. In most cases, it’s best to find a dealership nearby so you can easily visit if you need to. 

FINANCING OPTIONS

Choosing the right financing option is one of the most important things when buying any car. If you pick a bad financing deal, you will pay a lot more than you need to and you may be caught out by hidden charges and balloon payments that you didn’t expect to pay. Although it’s important to shop around for financing deals, it’s important that you check the financing options that the dealership offers. 

A GOOD BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY

The practical issues like location and financing options are important, but you should also consider the business philosophy of the dealership. If you go with a family run, community based dealership, like Bokan Auto Center, you know that their main priority is helping you find the right car for the right price.

Small independent dealerships that are run by a family team are less focused on targets and hitting monthly sales quotas. However, if you go with a dealership that is focused on targets above everything else, the sales staff will only be interested in selling you a car and nothing else. They won’t care if it’s not the right car for you or if it’s in bad condition, they’ll tell you whatever you want to hear so you sign the paperwork and they can hit their targets.

Most dealerships have a philosophy or about us page on their website and it’s important that you read them. This will give you an insight into how they operate and what their priorities are. 

A GOOD INVENTORY

Before you head to a dealership, you need some idea of what you are looking for. A good dealership will have a full inventory on their site with detailed information about all of the cars that they sell. If a dealership doesn’t have this, it suggests that they are not very professional and, in some cases, they don’t want people to see what they have to offer until they get to the dealership because the quality of the vehicles isn’t up to scratch.

These dealerships rely on sales tricks rather than good quality vehicles, so they don’t want you to see any cars until you are at the dealership and the sales team are already breathing down your neck. Checking the inventory of a dealership will help you to decide which car is best for you and it will stop you from wasting time visiting dealerships that don’t have anything to offer you. 

POSITIVE REVIEWS

In the past, it was a lot harder to find a good dealership and you mostly had to go with recommendations from family or friends or take a chance on a business that you didn’t know much about. But these days, online reviews can stop you from making a big mistake. Before you visit any dealership, always look for reviews online so you can get a sense of how they operate.

If they display a lot of reviews on their website or link to a third party review website, that’s always a good sign. It shows that they are proud of their reviews and they want everybody to read them. But if a dealership doesn’t advertise their reviews, it’s probably because they don’t want you to see them, and that’s not a good sign. When you check the reviews, you shouldn’t be put off by a few bad ones if the majority of them are positive.

However, if there are a lot of bad reviews saying that the dealership ripped them off or they didn’t communicate well, you can discount that dealership straight away. As long as you check all of these things, you should be able to find an honest used car dealer that will sell you the right car for a good price. 


Photo Credit: Nissan

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