11 Tips for 2013 Labor Day Car Sales Shopping


This is the last of the BIG Summer holiday Car Sales events, but the most important if you want to a 2013.

Dealers have virtually “cleared” their lots of most remaining 2013 models, however, a few manufacturers have delayed their 2014 models to be sure there is a less than 20 day supply of specific models.

Hence the incentives, rebates and advertising is upped, as many folks start their online quest this weekend, in preparation for the Monday off shopping event.

But before you hit the asphalt, take time to follow these important tips to maximize your bang for the buck, while minimizing your hours of haggling.

2012 jaguar convertible xk

Rebates, Incentives and Trade-in Values

1.  Trades should be cleaned out, and junk free. Wash and detail if possible.  Have both keys, all the books and the title, (or payoff statement) with you. This is a strong message to the dealer that you take care of your vehicles and are ready to deal.

2.  Know your AUTO credit score.  This can be found by contacting your bank, or asking a dealership for a pre-approval online.  An AUTO credit score indicates your CAR CREDIT HISTORY and can vary widely from a basic online credit score or mortgage number. Lenders look for 700 or higher for the incentive rates.

3.  Make a list of your top 5 cars to compare on test-drives. more than five will leave you confused and most likely sold before you can get back to it.

4. Check with your auto insurance agent for rate quotes. Give the agent the model and package you are most interested in buying so you know how the new premium will affect your budget.

Make a Car shopping list and stick to it.

5.  If you are researching specific inventory online, call the dealership ahead of your visit to be sure the EXACT vehicle is still available. Many dealership websites take days or weeks to upload and remove postings.

6. Check the dealership online reviews before you get there. A dealership with consistently negative reviews about sales or service treatment, is a possible indication of problems to come.

7.  Make an appointment with the Internet Manager to see the cars you are interested, and take test drives in all the cars on your shopping list BEFORE sitting down to negotiate.

8.  Check dealership websites for additional offers and discounts. The factory websites are a great place to start but inner-city competition may add extra deals to lure you from one side of the city to another.

9.  Be careful of the SMALL print, undisclosed or missing caveats.  EX. One dealer “includes”  Free lifetime oil changes in their ads, however, after the first freebie, the owner is required to spend $700.00 on a 7500 service, regularly $69.00. Refusal to pay the price of $700.00 renders the “free” lifetime oil changes revoked.

10.  Be flexible on color and features when searching for that model year-end closeout. Otherwise, consider ordering a 2014 to your specifications.  You may lose the extra rebate or incentive, however, the difference in depreciation between a 2013 and 2014, may make the 2014 a better deal for you.

11.  Be NICE to your car sales person. The sales person is your advocate and will go the extra mile to get the management to help make your deal, if you are pleasant and respectful.

Sarah Lee is an automotive writer, personal car concierge and commercial fleet manager. If you need free advice on your car problem, question, issue, contact her at sarahlee@mycarlady.com for a confidential conversation. She has over 25+ years of experience. She writes about Cars, and is a staunch consumer advocate on car related subjects. Call Sarah Lee for more information: sarahlee@mycarlady.com


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