10 Biggest Lies You’ll Hear at Car Dealerships

Know what lies you should look out for when you head to a dealer to get a new car.

visiting car dealership
Updated May 28, 2024
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Car dealerships can be intimidating if you don’t like negotiating or are worried about a dealer lying to you.

However, you'll be less nervous if you do some research and prepare yourself for a dealer visit. That could include comparing prices online for the car you’re interested in, looking into different financing options, and even shopping for the best car insurance policies.

It’s also a good idea to keep an ear out for these lies that you may hear at the dealership so you don’t fall for them.

“We can lower your monthly costs”

successphoto/Adobe man working with calculator to calculate expenses

You might be interested in a car but worried that it will strain your monthly budget. But a dealer may tell you not to worry because they can get those monthly payments lower.

Be sure you check the fine print to understand exactly what they're planning to do to lower your bill. It could be by extending the loan or lease for over 60 months. 

That might mean you have to hold on to the car for five years with monthly payments that have you paying a high interest rate.

“This is the lowest rate you can get”

bnenin/Adobe car dealer showing files and giving keys to client

You might talk to the car dealer about financing your car with their dealership, but don’t believe them when they tell you they’re giving you the best rate possible on your loan.

Before you go to the dealer, shop around and see if you can get a lower rate or a better loan through a bank or other financial institution. And make sure you pay off your debts — or at least have them under control — before you apply for a loan so you’ll get a better deal.

“You can trust the accident report”

Paolese/Adobe people checking car damages after car accident

Resources like Carfax or AutoReport can give you a good idea of any issues or accidents that can affect the quality or safety of a vehicle. But there are things that those reports might not tell you since some things go unreported. 

For example, if someone gets in an accident but decides not to file a claim with the insurance company, there may be issues that are invisible — until they cause you trouble.

Consider having the car looked over by an independent inspector who can see any damage that may not show up in an accident database.

“Someone else wants to buy this car”

Petro/Adobe young man testing new car

A dealer may tell you that you have to make this deal quickly because they have another customer ready to buy the car now and drive away with it. There likely isn’t another buyer and the dealer is just trying to close the deal.

Walk away if you don’t feel comfortable with the pressure. You don’t want to feel pushed into a major purchase and agree to things you wouldn’t if you had more time to consider the offer. And there’s always another car for you.

“Just sign and drive”

Prostock-studio/Adobe couple driving car

A dealer may tell you that buying a car is simple. Just sign the paperwork and they’ll give you the keys.

But a car is a major purchase, so it’s important to take some time and look over the paperwork to know exactly what you’re committing to. 

You also want to make sure there aren’t any fees or other costs the dealer is trying to hide from you by making you sign quickly.

Remember, you're committing yourself not only to the car but to its monthly expenses, including fuel and insurance. You don’t want to get a great deal on the car only to find out that it’s too expensive to insure. Take your time and think it through the bigger picture.

“The price is not negotiable”

alfa27/Adobe couple signs documents at dealership showroom

The dealer may tell you that the price is not negotiable, but that's not usually true. You can ask if they can give you a better deal and be willing to walk away if they aren’t going to negotiate with you.

Pro tip: There are some times when you can lock in a price and not worry about negotiating if you don’t want to. If you’re a Costco member, for example, a great Costco hack is to lock in a price with a local dealer through the Costco Auto program.

“We can’t waive that fee”

makibestphoto/Adobe man signing car insurance document

Dealers might tack on extra fees that may or may not be necessary, so keep an eye on the extras they add in.

Some fees may be worth it, like the dealer registering your vehicles with the state so you don’t have to. But there are also fees, like dealer prep fees, that you can skip.

“You need the extended warranty”

Tomasz Zajda/Adobe used car maintenance

One thing dealers may try to sell you is an extended warranty for your vehicle, but you might want to do some research before you buy it.

If you’re getting a new car, it’s probably not worth paying for the extended warranty. It may be helpful if you’re buying a used car, but you’ll want to double-check on exactly what that warranty will cover. 

You may be surprised by what is and isn’t covered by the extended warranty your dealer offers.

“We'll give you a great deal on your trade-in”

deagreez/Adobe female driver opens car door

Take some time and do your research before you take your trade-in to a dealer. They may try to bait you with the promise of a great deal only to knock the price down when you arrive.

Before you go, check out a website like Kelley Blue Book to get a good idea of your car’s trade-in value. You should also check with other dealers to compare your trade-in options.

“Today is the last day for this deal”

Rido/Adobe couple examining new auto with car dealer

A dealer may tell you the deal on the car you’re interested in will sunset and be gone by tomorrow, but it probably won’t.

Don’t be pressured by a dealer into a sale you’re not sure of just because they tell you the deal won’t last. They want to sell you a car and will make a deal that works for you on whatever day you decide to purchase it.

Bottom line

Nebojsa/Adobe male customer and female car dealer shaking hands at showroom

A car is a big ticket purchase, and a commitment not only to financing the car but also to the monthly expenses for fuel, repairs, and insurance. There are dealers who will be honest with you as they try to get you in a car you want, but be on the lookout for these lies.

You want to be comfortable with the deal you're getting, as well as with the car. So do your homework before you go to the dealer, research car prices, and compare auto insurance to help you get the best deal possible.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen

Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.