car dealership negotiation

10 Things to Never Reveal at the Car Dealership

When you step into a car dealership, it’s essential to be savvy and guarded, as salespeople are experts at extracting information to their advantage. To ensure you get the best deal and maintain the upper hand, here are ten things you should never reveal at the car dealership.

Your Budget

cash and steering wheel car
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When you step into a dealership, avoid disclosing your budget right away. Let the salesperson work within your desired price range without revealing the exact figure. Disclosing your budget upfront could limit your negotiation power and result in you paying more than necessary.

Monthly Payment Limit

Man signing car insurance document or lease paper. Writing signature on contract or agreement. Buying or selling new or used vehicle. Car keys on table. Warranty or guarantee. Customer or salesman.
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Revealing your maximum monthly payment to the salesperson can be a costly mistake. Dealerships might manipulate this number to their advantage by extending the loan term or offering add-ons, making the overall cost higher. Keep this information to yourself until you’ve agreed on the vehicle’s price.

Trade-In Value

Salesman guiding customer seated at table. Car business. Car sale. Dealership closing. and the new owner has entered into a contract The idea of ​​selling and renting a car with insurance.
Image Credit: SaiArLawKa2/Shutterstock.

If you have a vehicle to trade in, don’t disclose its value until after you’ve negotiated the price of the new car. Salespeople may use your trade-in’s worth as leverage to justify a higher purchase price, ultimately leaving you with a less favorable deal.


Cheerful female client of car dealership smiling and looking at camera while sitting inside new red vehicle
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Never let on that you’re overly eager or desperate for a specific car. Salespeople are trained to recognize signs of desperation and can use this to their advantage during negotiations. Maintain a calm and composed demeanor to keep the upper hand.

Credit Score

Shopping online with special offer installment payments. Zero percent rate, 3d number appear when business person using mobile smart phone and pay by credit card. 0% Interest free, zero commission.
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Avoid providing your credit score unless you’re ready to discuss financing terms. Sharing your credit score prematurely can enable dealerships to offer less favorable loan rates or terms. Keep this information confidential until you’re prepared to delve into the financing details.

Time Constraints

African american businessman disagreeing with contract terms at group multi-ethnic negotiations, black partner arguing about deal conditions or fraud scam pointing at document at multiracial meeting
Image Credit: fizkes/Shutterstock.

Never disclose if you’re in a hurry to make a purchase. Mentioning time constraints can put you at a disadvantage, as rushed decisions may lead to unfavorable terms. Keep your schedule under wraps to negotiate with a clear head.

Emotional Attachment

car salesman on lot with price sticker on cae selling
Image Credit: PH888/Shutterstock.

Avoid displaying emotional attachment to a particular car. Salespeople are trained to detect emotional connections, and they may use this to their advantage by raising the price or offering fewer incentives. Stay objective during negotiations to secure a better deal.

Monthly Payment Focus

A dollar bills in the male hand on the background of the steering wheel in the car. Concept of earnings or bribes, insurance or credit, investing or selling a car. electric car battery replacement cost.
Image Credit: Gleb Usovich/Shutterstock.

While monthly payments are important, don’t get fixated on them to the exclusion of all else. Concentrating solely on monthly payments can divert your attention from the overall cost of the car. Consider the full picture, including the purchase price and financing terms.

Trade-In Details

car salesman on lot with price sticker on cae selling
Image Credit: Gunter Nezhoda/Shutterstock.

Keep trade-in details vague until you’ve agreed on the price of the new car. Dealerships may adjust the trade-in value to offset discounts or incentives, potentially reducing the overall benefit. Wait until negotiations are complete before discussing trade-in specifics.

Knowledge Level

car dealership negotiation
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Avoid revealing an extensive knowledge of a specific car or its market value. Salespeople may use your expertise to offer less favorable terms, assuming that you’re committed to that particular vehicle. Keep your knowledge discreet to maintain negotiation leverage.

Author: Madison Cates

Title: Managing Editor


Research journalist, Freelance writer, Managing editor

  • Expertise: automotive content, trending topics.
  • Education: LeTourneau University, Bachelors of Science in Business Administration.
  • Over 400 articles and short news pieces published across the web.

Experience: Madison Cates is a journalist located in the great state of Texas. She began writing over eight years ago. Her first major research piece was published by the Journal of Business and Economics in 2018. After growing up in a household of eight brothers and a dad who was always restoring old Camaros, she naturally pivoted her freelance career into the automotive industry. There, she found her passion. Her experience paved the way for her to work with multiple large corporations in automotive news and trending topics. Now, she now finds her home at Wealth of Geeks where she proudly serves as Managing Editor of Autos. Madison is always down to geek out over the latest beautiful cars on the market, and she enjoys providing her readers with tips to make car ownership easier and more enjoyable.

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