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‘Whyyy is buying a car a riddle’: Man says this is how you should respond to ‘What do you want your monthly payment to be?’ at car dealership

'It's insane that car dealers can manipulate a price. Show the price or no deal.'


Brooke Sjoberg


Posted on Feb 21, 2024   Updated on Feb 21, 2024, 9:30 am CST

In 2024, buying a car can be an especially daunting task. Between high interest rates and a long-term shortage of new cars due to supply chain issues, the pool of vehicles customers can choose from is getting more expensive, even for used cars.

With these factors at play, drivers in the market for a new vehicle might be overwhelmed, seeking advice from those with experience in the car sales industry to avoid overpaying for a new ride.

With a father who has more than 40 years of experience working in the automotive industry, one man says there are certain ways to respond to lines of questioning from car salesmen at the dealership to avoid being taken advantage of.

In a video that has drawn over 565,000 views on TikTok, Zach (@zachshefska) says remaining focused on the total price being paid out the door when purchasing a vehicle can help buyers avoid expensive and unnecessary add-ons or fees.

“When a car salesman asks you what you want your monthly payment to be, you need to answer with, ‘I’m not concerned with the monthly payment, I am only focused on the total out-the-door price,'” Zach says in the video. “The salesperson might then say, ‘So you’re paying in cash?’ Say, ‘Nope, I haven’t determined exactly how I plan to pay for it yet, I’m just concerned about the out-the-door price.'”

Zach suggests ignoring the salesperson’s attempts to get a monthly budget out of you.

“Then the salesperson will probably say, ‘Do you have a monthly budget in mind?'” he says. “And you’ll say, ‘I have a total out-the-door price in mind, so I would only like for you to discuss that with me at this time.'”

He directs viewers to his own car sales website, where additional advice from his father’s time in the auto industry is available.

“My dad, who spent 43 years in the car business, put together these free cheat sheets that tell you what to say when a car dealer uses a particular word track that they’re trained to say,” he says. “Aside from a brief stint going bankrupt from opening a Golf USA store, my dad was in the car business his whole life. The cheat sheet includes things like how to handle your trade-in, as well as things you should be prepared to talk about with the finance manager when it comes to getting your vehicle financed and all those asinine add-ons. It’s 100% free, Google Car Edge cheat sheet.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to Zach via email regarding the video.

Several viewers noted that the line of questioning mentioned in the video is something playing out on the sales floor in the current car buying market, whether they were selling them or buying them.

“Sold cars, this is correct,” one commenter wrote. “The reason why is markup can be hidden in the monthly payment if that is the number you focus on.”

“As an underwriter that sees bad deals on the daily, I think you and your dad are GOLD with your advice,” another said. “I agree and I hope ppl are paying attention.”

“Would see this after they messed me over,” a further user commented. “I’m paying $571 a month for a basic model Nissan overall total $40,000 something APR%5 something.”

@zachshefska #cardealers HATE when you know this! #caredge #cardealer #cardeal #buyingacar #cardealershiptiktok #buyingacartip #cardealership #buyingacartips #learnwithtiktok #carbuyingsecrets #carbuying101 #carbuyingadvice #carbuyinghelp #carbuyingmadeeasy ♬ original sound – zachshefska

Others shared their advice for negotiating car sales, such as bringing in hard copies of quotes and market prices for vehicles.

“When trading a car in I always have a kbb and a car max estimate in hand to negotiate with,” one commenter wrote.

“Had my carmax trade in quote with me when negotiating,” another commented. “Dealer wanted to give me $2,000 less than what carmax was going to pay.”

“I always shop with a pre approved loan from the credit union and negotiate an out the lot price,” a third said.

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*First Published: Feb 21, 2024, 1:00 pm CST