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12 Steps to Getting the Best Deal on a New Car

Step 12: Beware of the “back end” of the deal.

(Mazda North American Operations)

(Mazda North American Operations)

Whether you’ve walked into a dealership with a bona fide offer in hand or dickered with a salesperson, once you’ve reach an agreed-upon transaction price, you’ll be taken to see the dealership’s “F&I” (Finance and Insurance) manager to “put the final touches” on the transaction. Always take the time to read all documents carefully, make sure the numbers all jibe with what’s been agreed upon and use a calculator to check the math before signing anything. Refuse to pay for spurious charges that may suddenly appear in the paperwork, such as “prep” and “advertising” that are essentially part of the dealer’s business costs. And never sign a blank contract. Be sure to reject high-cost/low-value services like credit insurance, rustproofing, fabric protection, paint sealant and service agreements. A keen dealership can profit more from this so-called “back end” of the deal than it can by selling you the vehicle itself. On the day you set out to buy your new car, allow plenty of time for all of the necessary steps. It’s a lengthy process and in your hurry to get it over with, you might overlook an extra charge. Don’t let being tired, hungry or rushed cause you to miss an important detail.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]