7) Buy your car at the dealership

Roar. Now it’s time to drive away happy. You’ll make an appointment to pick up your car, stride into the dealership like a bear, present your payment, and sign the paperwork. If you followed all our car shopping and car loan advice, you may have saved $3,000 – and as we bears say, that’s a lot of honey.   

To make sure you all your hard work pays off, prepare yourself for any “bear traps” you might encounter at the dealership. Before you get to the dealership, you’ll need to:

  • Make an appointment - tell your salesman you have a one-hour window to pick up your car

  • Have something to eat and drink - low blood sugar causes bad decisions

  • Be confident - you are in control

With your Outside loan package in place, this could be the quickest and easiest car purchase you ever make.


Here’s what to expect at the dealership

You will need to do three things at the dealership, and then you can drive off happy! 

  • deliver your Outside funding to the dealer, 

  • inspect your vehicle, and 

  • sign a number of documents.  

You are likely to meet representatives from two different departments.  

  • First will be the car salesperson—likely the person with whom you negotiated the purchase price for your car. He or she will greet you and go over the terms of your car purchase agreement.  Please be sure to bring a copy of the ‘purchase order’ (for new vehicle buyers) or ‘bookout sheet’ (for used vehicles) to confirm that the bottom line, out the door price, which includes all fees, charges and taxes, is exactly what you agreed to. He or she may then take you to do a final inspection of your car.  

  • Next, your car salesperson is likely to bring you to the office of the Finance Manager. This person will help you complete all the paperwork required to officially transfer ownership of your new vehicle.

Caution: Bear Trap Alert

An important note of caution—the Finance Manager’s office now generates more profit for a dealership than the car sales office. The Finance Manager may try to do what’s known in the industry as “flip” you.  

‘Flipping’ means the Finance Manager may try one last time to replace your Outside funding package with financing from the dealer. We always want you to make the best decision for you, so please be careful here. Remember that the back office of an auto dealership is no place to learn about a complicated set of car loan and protection products.  

With one hand, the dealer may offer a lower interest rate or a lower monthly payment by extending the length of your loan, and with the other, sell you a vehicle service contract at an inflated price that limits your choice of where you repair. 

Remember to relax and smile—because you’re in control. You can decline any offer the Finance Manager may present. No thank you, I already have financing, and I need to get back to my… job, kids, movie, guests, book, bed, yardwork… are all acceptable answers. You can even say it twice or three or four times—they’ll get the idea. Our point is that the choice is yours. It’s better to be Outside.