The Insider's Guide to Car Buying ☰ 

Car Buying Guide for New & Used Vehicles

Woman driving car she just bought | AutoCheatSheet.com

Welcome to my 100% free online car buying guide for new and used vehicles. My name is Carlton Wolf and I've been in the retail car business for over 20 years. I created the Auto Cheat Sheet to better educate buyers on the deceptive sales practices found in many dealerships across the country.

Please understand, not all car dealers and their personnel are dishonest. However, you never know who you're going to end up dealing with when you walk into a car dealership.

Would you like to buy a car, but worry about paying too much or being ripped off by a dealer? If you're like most people, you don't want to spend hours in a dealership haggling with a car salesman, but still want to get the best possible price and walk away confident you received a great deal. My free online car buying guides will show you how easy it is to accomplish that goal.

For almost two decades, the Auto Cheat Sheet has helped thousands of people level the playing field when navigating the deceptive car buying process. But also educate them on how to recognize and avoid costly car dealer scams.

Online Car Buying Guides

New Car Buying Guide

My detailed new car buyer's guide will guarantee you get the best price available while new car shopping. 95% of the new car buying process can be done online without haggling with a car salesman. I'll teach you how to pay the best price available, get pre-approved for a low interest car loan and avoid car dealer scams without ever leaving your computer.

Used Car Buying Guide

Buying a used car is a little different than buying a new vehicle. I'll show you how to find the right vehicle, negotiate the lowest price, check the vehicle's title history, arrange financing and even how to find the perfect extended warranty so you can protect your investment.

First Time Car Buying Guide

How you buy your first car will set the tone on how you buy vehicles for the rest of your life. Don't let your emotions and the excitement get in the way of making a smart car buying decision. Follow the tools I provide in this guide to make sure you're successful, receive a great deal, and avoid dealer scams when buying your first car.

How to Buy New Cars

Buying a new car is the second most expensive purchase most people will make in their lifetime. It should be fun and exciting, not frightening or scary.

Auto Cheat Sheet will show you how to buy the new car you want at the best possible price without having to deal with pushy arrogant frontline salespeople.

How to Buy Used Cars

Buying a used car is different from buying new. Used cars do not have an invoice and there is no way to tell how the vehicle has been treated by the previous owner.

The Auto Cheat Sheet will walk you through the entire used car buying process. You will find useful information on how to estimate a dealer's used car cost, negotiation tips, tell if a vehicle has been in an accident, read a VIN, and even learn the proper way to perform a test drive.

The Best Car Price May Not Be the Best Deal

Receiving the best price on a vehicle is only one piece of the car buying process. There are several areas a dealer will attempt to part you with your money. These areas include, but are not limited to financing, your trade, warranties, insurance, aftermarket products and the many car buying scams associated with the industry.

My car buying guide will cover all these areas in detail so you can have confidence knowing you received a great deal when buying your next new or used car.

Other Important Car Buying Topics:

Just one of the topics above may save you thousands of dollars on your next vehicle purchase. My advice is you read through all the above topics to guarantee you have a general knowledge of the entire car buying process. Make sure you send me your success story and let me know how you did.

How Car Dealers Count Their Money

Ever wonder why one person can get a great deal on a car and the other one doesn't? A dealer knows every car sale is different and they look at every deal separately. However, they look at the total profit collectively from all the vehicles sold for the month and then average it out over the total vehicles sold.

Example: Customer A buys a Honda Accord for $500 under dealer cost. Customer B bought the same car for a $1,600 profit and customer C bought the same car at a $5,400 profit. From the above three car deals the dealer grossed a total of $6,500. Divide it by the cars sold and the dealer is averaging $2,166.66 PVR (per vehicle retailed).

My tips will not show you how to steal a car from a dealership, but I will teach you how to not be customer C in the example above. The car buying tips within the Auto Cheat Sheet will NOT make the dealer a lot of money, but because of the way they average profit, they will still be happy to sell you a car.

Why, you ask? Because after you, there will be another person stumble into the dealership, uneducated and unprepared, trying to buy a car like their parents did. I guarantee the dealer will make up any lost profit from your car deal on the next guy. Learn more about the new car buying process and how it works.

Car Dealer Scams Exposed

Not all car dealers are bad, but it can be very difficult to know which ones are doing business honestly. Many of the most common tricks of the trade are easily avoidable if you know what to look for.

My goal is to expose the deceptions used by the unethical dealers so you don't end up becoming another victim.

Why is Buying a Car Such a Hassle?

In reality, manufacturers would love to get rid of the middleman (car dealerships) and let you buy a new car directly from the source. However, back in the day, manufacturers focused only on building cars and did not want to take on the hassle of selling to the public.

This is how the traditional car dealership came about. Dealers took on the responsibility to sell and provide service for the vehicles the manufacturers were building. To guarantee the manufacuters could not take back control. Dealers banded together decades ago to protect their business's from franchise laws.

couple frustrated about buying a car | AutoCheatSheet.com

With no Internet available, it was very difficult to comparison shop or gather information on a vehicle you wanted to buy.

The only way to buy a new car was to go to your local car dealership and hope that you don't get ripped off.

Since the birth of the Internet you can get all the pricing information you need if you know where to look. However, the franchise laws dealers put into place in the past is what still protects them today.

There have been several attempts to change the laws to benefit the consumer, but dealers are protected politically and it is very difficult to win once you sign a contract. The fact is, if you're going to buy a new car, you will always have to buy it from a franchise dealership. An example would be if you want a new Ford pickup you'll have to buy it from a licensed Ford dealership.

The Car Buying Game is Rigged

Car dealers have an unfair advantage when it comes to negotiating the price of a new or used car. The average person will buy a car every four to six years, in this same time period a car dealership will sell around 4,500 cars. As you can see, the dealer has a little more experience selling cars than you do buying them.

busy car dealership | AutoCheatSheet.com

As if this weren't enough, there's several different areas to the car buying process where a dealer can take advantage of you. Do you want new or used? Are you trading in a vehicle? Are you financing, leasing, or paying cash? How about protecting your investment with an extended warranty and insurance?

To make matters even worse, dealers are very good a wearing you down. They know if they drag out the car buying process long enough, you'll get tired and buy a car on their terms just to get out of there. It's a fact that some car purchases can take the entire day to complete. The sad thing is, even after taking all day to buy a vehicle you still won't know if you actually received a fair deal or not.

What's the Secret Formula to Buying a Car?

Car dealer's prey on the uninformed, just dropping in to buy a car without first doing your homework puts you at a severe disadvantage. I don't know how many times I'd hear a customer say, "When I came in, I wasn't planning on buying a car today," right before driving off in their new vehicle. The average gross profit made on these customers is much higher and is what makes if possible for a smart car buyer like yourself get such a great deal.

The secret formula to getting a great deal when buying a new or used car is "knowledge." The more you familiarize yourself with all aspects of the car buying process beforehand, the less chance you have overpaying for your next vehicle.

Car Buying in March

March is a great month to buy a car. Dealers will be making a big advertising push to make up for lost sales from the January and February.

Don't make a costly mistake by getting sucked in by the "unbelievable deals" out there. The golden rule is to do your research first before visiting a dealership.

Read our new or used car buying guide to maximize your savings and always use competition between dealers online to guarantee you pay the lowest price.

How to Research Cars Online >>

What People Think

Thank you for saving me over $4800 off my new car, you're the best! - Jason B.

So thankful I stumbled across your site. I used it to buy my car last month and I've shared it with everyone I know. - Sean P.

I would have never thought about having dealers compete online, worked like a charm. Thanks for all the help! - Julie T.

Used your tips to buy my fourth car over the past 7 years. No doubt the best car buying guide on the net. You've saved me and my family a ton of money over the years. Thank you for keeping it up. - Samantha R.

Submit Your Success Story >>

How to Get the Best Price

Have local car dealers compete for your business. Start an online bidding war between dealers from the comfort of your computer.

Get local dealers to compete for your business by requesting free, no-obligation price quotes from the following online companies.

Best Car Pricing
Car Clearance Deals
Edmunds
Motor Trend
Cars Direct

Competition between dealers is the best way to ensure you get the best price. You win when dealers compete!

Did You Know?

If you buy a car and later decide you can't afford to make the payments, you can return the vehicle and it won't affect your credit score.

FALSE - When you buy a car from a dealership, you enter into a retail sales agreement. You are financially responsible for the vehicle and the terms set forth in the contract regardless of your situation.

If you break your agreement by not making the payments or returning the car, you will be in default and it will seriously impact your credit report and score.

Dealer Scam of the Month
Trade-in Scam

As you begin the trade-in process, the dealer will call your lender and get a 10 or 20 day payoff amount.

After the deal is complete the dealer is suppose to send that amount of money to your previous lender, before the due date, to pay off your old vehicle. This is where the, "we forgot to pay off your trade-in" scam comes into play.

You find out later the car dealer never paid off your trade-in as promised. Now you're left with the responsibility of your old car loan and your new one until your trade is officially paid off.

Read more about this scam >>

What's Your Trade Worth?
See how much your trade in is worth

As the old saying goes, "knowledge is power." This certainly applies to knowing how much your vehicle is worth to a dealer.

Find your vehicle's trade-in value here.

See your cars value
Dealer Slang of the Month
"Sticker Shock"

Slang term used to describe a customer that sees the price of the car on the window sticker for the first time.

Example: "My customer has come down with a huge case of "sticker shock." I'm going to need to switch him to a lower model vehicle if I want any chance at selling him a car."

More Car Salesman Slang Here >>