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Choosing a Car Dealer

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For many people, Internet research has become an essential step in making an intelligent new or used car purchase. The web can help you explore various models, compare them side by side and determine which features are most critical in your personal vehicle selection. You can also go online to find out about your financing and insurance options.

But when you're ready to leave the virtual world to see and drive the vehicles in person, the next step in the process is choosing a dealership. Here are a few characteristics that can vary among dealers:

  • Size and type of inventory
  • Current special offers
  • Services and amenities
  • Reputation

Just as your online information gathering helps you narrow down the make and model choices, Internet research can also simplify your selection of the dealers you want to visit.

Help Finding a Dealership
The AutoTrader.com Find Your Dealer tool allows you to search for dealerships in your area using criteria you specify. If you're looking for a particular kind of car, you can search by several inventory types — from the general categories of new, used, certified, to more narrow options like hybrids or conversion vans.

Looking for the manufacturer rebates and incentives or dealer specials? Select those options on the Find Your Dealer search list to see dealerships that are currently offering those bargains. To ensure easier communication, you can choose from several language options that may be provided at dealerships. Or if you have financing concerns, you can search for a dealership that will work with your credit situation.

Think ahead about convenient services and other extras that you might enjoy after the sale. Maybe a children's play area or Internet access would help you make the most of your service wait time. Or if you have to get to work instead of waiting, look for a dealership that offers a courtesy shuttle or loaner cars.

When you see your search results, you will notice that some dealers have provided additional helpful information. The links labeled "Learn more about..." take you to a webpage that may offer:

  • Photos of the dealership
  • A map and directions to the location
  • Links to email contacts and the dealership's website

You can also see statistics on available inventory on this page and read more about features that make this dealership unique.

You won't regret doing your homework before you begin working with a dealer. After you've come up with the dealerships you want to visit, you can also ask friends and relatives for valuable word-of-mouth opinions. Loyal customers are the lifeblood of a dealership's long-term business, so the best dealers will have earned their customers' trust.

Start your dealership search on AutoTrader.com.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
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