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Although it is a stereotype, it is true that most mothers aren’t in charge of buying a car for the family. Men tend to know more about cars, pricing, and how to negotiate. Again, this is a generalization, but something that many families experience.

However, not every family is the same, and sometimes it is mom’s responsibility to find a new car for the family. Since women tend to know less about cars, some car salesman take advantage of this fact in order to “pull a fast one” on a mother who doesn’t know what she’s looking for, or lacks negotiation skills.

If you’re preparing to buy a car and aren’t very experienced with the vehicle-buying process, it can be overwhelming. If you don’t know much about cars, or the car buying process, you might be tempted to rely on every word that the dealer or salesman tell you. While car salesman have a reputation for misleading buyers, not all of them are bad. However, there are certain things that the dealer and salesman might not point out to you in order to make the car look more appealing. If you can do a little research before you go car shopping, you’ll know what to look for and what types of questions to ask. If you don’t want to get duped into buying a car that has some hidden surprises, read ahead for a few suggestions of what to look for.

The Car May Be a Stripped Down Model

Many car dealerships often advertise great deals just to get customers in the door, but their ads may be more deceiving than they let on. If a car is advertised at a low price, it may be due to the features that are not included for a stripped down model that comes without all of the bells and whistles. If the price seems exceptionally low, ask the dealer why. And of course, you should take a test drive and actually get in the car so that you can see what features are offered. If you do some research about original models before you shop, you know what features to look for and you’ll be able to spot a stripped down model when you see one.

You Don’t Need to Pay the VIN-etch Fee

It’s important to look at every component of the overall price of the vehicle before signing all of the paperwork. Oftentimes, dealerships discretely add a VIN-etch fee, which is actually optional and can be taken off for a savings of $250. If you’re new to the car buying scene, the dealer will assume that you don’t know about the VIN-etch fee, and will try to talk you into buying it. You can often find places that will do VIN-etching for free, so you certainly don’t have to pay for it at the time of purchasing the vehicle if you don’t want to.

The Car May Have Been in an Accident

Car salesmen are known to know every inch of the vehicles that they are trying to sell, but they aren’t likely to point out if a pre-owned vehicle has been in an accident. This can greatly influence the price and is an important question to ask. As you start looking at cars, you will soon realize the importance of obtaining the car fax so that you can see the true history and value. The fact that the car has previously been in an accident might effect your decision of buying or not, so this is definitely an area you want to look into.

They Can Remove Added Features

Between alarm systems to fancy rims, there are several extra features on vehicles on dealership lots that are added simply to draw in customers and hike up the price. If you want to lower the amount you pay, you can simply ask to have the added features removed. When you are hashing out the details of the price, it is important to know exactly what you are paying for. Don’t be bashful about asking the dealer or salesman exactly how they are arriving at their price, and what is included in the price.

Dents Can Be Repaired

A lot of times, car salesmen are willing to work a deal if there is hail damage or dents on a vehicle due to the weather. Although you may receive a discount, this is just an extra profit for them as all of the vehicles on the lot are already insured. It is important to thoroughly inspect the vehicle because there may be dents or scuffs that are difficult to see. Make sure you take your time when you are looking over the vehicle and during the test drive. If there are any blemishes or imperfections, make sure you point them out to the salesman and ask about how these effect the price.

Before making a purchase on a vehicle you’ll likely own for several years, know what you’re getting and how to lower the price without getting ripped off. The most vulnerable customers are those that are unaware of the dealerships’ tactics, making it crucial to do your research to save more in the long run. The most important things you can do to ensure that you get a good deal and the vehicle you want is to first, do research, and second, ask questions. If you are too shy to be upfront with the salesman about problems with the car or questions you have, you’ll get taken advantage of. If you are bold and upfront with your questions, the salesman will realize that you aren’t going to let anything slide, and they will be more forthright with you. This is where your mothering skills come in handy—nothing gets past mom! Information for this article was provided by the professionals of Speedy Brake and Apollo Muffler, who provide car repair in Calgary.

Earnest Parenting: help for moms who need to purchase cars.