Long but important. Be your own advocate at the car dealership and do not let them push you into anything. When buying a car:
Get pre-approved by your OWN bank.
Do NOT let the car company handle your financing.
Do NOT let them badger you into buying warranties, rust protection, or scotch guarding on a used card because that is where they make their money and they want you to finance that as well.
The dealership tried to get me to finance a 12K car for 5 YEARS to add all that crap to it. I said no and they were rather huffy about it. But I am a pushy woman and nobody coerces me.
Then they tried to get in between me and my loan officer, and by the end of the day had her in tears and me annoyed. She called me just before I went to get it to warn me that there may be confusion on the insurance figures. Sure enough, they tried to add the cost of the loan insurance to the purchase price of the car. Now I KNOW that is part of the monthly loan payment, and has nothing to do with them. To add it to their cost meant they would pocket that money, and I would be paying it as part of my loan payment. It took me explaining this to two people to get that taken off the loan agreement that I refused to sign until they ran a new one.
I just had a long chat with the loan officer this morning, and she is taking it to her boss. They let the car companies write loans as a convenience to their members (it is a credit union) and she said it seems it is less a convenience and more of an opportunity for them to press people to pay more than they need to.
In fact, they told me that since my car was older than 2006, I couldn't get a favorable rate with my credit union and tried to write me a loan with another lender (which they probably get a kick back from) for a higher rate. I said let me call my LO and she said oh you can get it at this rate, which was .4% lower than what he was pushing at me.
People who get confused when dealerships are doing their verbal sleight of hand probably pay more in interest, finance unneeded warranties & paint/rust/fabric protection, and for longer periods of time than they need to. As my LO said this morning, this is an example of why our economy is in such a shambles. Good meaning people, who get confused and won't admit it, or won't speak up for themselves, get taken advantage of by people who are in the business of taking advantage. They end up with payments they can't afford, for ridiculous periods of time.
Beware. They talk different language from what you think they are. When you make an offer, they come back with a figure they call the difference, and lead you to believe it is a drop in the selling price. But it isn't. They don't break out the figures for you of what that figure means unless you press them: what is the amount you are offering as a trade? what is the new selling price?
They would not break out for me figures on what the rust/paint/fabric protection cost. I had no intention of getting it, but I wanted to see the figures. They didn't want me to. All I got was percentages.
Be careful, people. Work with your own bank. Have them write the loan. Go pick up the check and deliver it to the dealership. Get them out of the loop.