1. At a dealership, you can expect to encounter salesmen and saleswomen who have a high stake in ripping you off. We call these people "commissioned thieves." A friendly rapport built between yourself and a salesman can assure that you will, in the end, get a more fair deal. If you go in there acting like a jerk, he or she WILL try to rip you off.

2. Consider how you're going to pay for the car. If you need to use some kind of payment plan (as most people do), it is essential to try and obtain pre-approval on a loan before even setting foot on a showroom floor. The dealer will try and convince you that his/her financing plan is better than the bank's. However, unless they are offering a special sale on car loans, a bank is more likely to provide a better loan on terms you can handle.

3. Since it takes about two to three hours to close a deal, it is essential that you show up 90 minutes before the store closes. The later you can get in the door and get dealing, the more likely you are to get a good deal. Even used car salespeople are human, and they get tired too. At the end of a long day, they'll be more likely to not feel like haggling rather than when they are fresh in the morning.

4. NEVER make the first offer. It might seem that it makes sense to walk right up to the dealer and tell him/her, "I am willing to pay for thousand dollars and not a penny more, I swear." There are two problems with an approach like this. First, the dealer may have been willing to give you a better deal, but now you have told him/her that he/she need not go lower. Second, if you are bluffing, you may find yourself out on the street without the car before you know what hit you.

5. If you decide to take the dealer's financing or the dealer is assuming that you will (not passing on the financing immediately can sometimes help you get a better deal in the long-run), then you should be aware of a second dealer trick. Never answer the question "Would you take the car tonight if I could get you a $250 monthly payment?" This is one of the oldest tricks in the book. What he/she has not told you is that the loan is for 19 years at an APR of 456%. In the end, the most important thing is the total price of a car before financing. After that, factor in the financing to see if the deal is for you.

6. Be wary of phrases like "what will it take to get you into this car today?" or, "I'll have to check with my manager, I don't think we can go that low," or, "it's a steal at this price." Chances are, the salesperson has said the same thing to about four dozen people already that day.

7. Add-ons like car alarms, warranties, rust coating, in-dash microwaves and such can add up when it comes to the bottom line. Ask exactly what each add-on does, and decide whether you want it or not. While most additional offers should be declined, a good warranty (especially if it comes through a major auto manufacturer) can be an added plus. Make sure you check the warranty terms, coverage, roadside assistance and other variables.

8. Make sure you read everything before signing. A typo could "conveniently" slip into the contract.

SoYouWanna know more? Check out our full-length article SYW buy a used car?