Never been at a Car Dealership? This is what you Expect to Experience

Never been to a dealership before? No worries, we have all been there. Although the car purchasing experience at a dealership can vary depending on the dealership, here's a general step-by-step guide to the car purchasing process at a dealership:

  1. Visit the Dealership: Once you have an idea of what you're looking for, visit the dealership. You can call ahead to set up an appointment with a salesperson or just show up. If you do not have a specific dealership in mind, you can search online for the closest dealerships that have the car you want.
  2. Meet the Salesperson: A salesperson will greet you and ask you some questions about what you're looking for. They will then show you the cars that meet your requirements and answer any questions you have about them. Take the car(s) for a test drive and ask as many questions as you can.
  3. Negotiate Price: If you're interested in purchasing the car, the salesperson will present you with a price quote. Negotiate with the salesperson to try and get a better deal. Don't be afraid to walk away if you don't feel like you're getting a fair price.
  4. Finance: Once you've agreed on a price, you'll need to finance the vehicle. The dealership will offer you financing options, but you can also look for financing on your own before you visit the dealership. You can choose to pay in cash or use a car loan from a third-party lender.
  5. Confirm Delivery Date: Before the delivery date, the dealership will typically contact you to confirm the date and time of delivery. Make sure you have made any necessary arrangements such as arranging for insurance coverage, registering the car, and making any payments that are due.
  6. Inspection: When the car arrives, make sure to inspect it thoroughly for any damage or issues. Check the exterior, interior, and under the hood. If you notice any issues, report them to the dealership immediately. The dealership should fix any problems before you take delivery of the car.
  7. Sign the Paperwork: After the inspection, you'll need to sign the paperwork to take delivery of the car. This typically includes a bill of sale, registration, and any financing or leasing paperwork. Make sure to read everything carefully before you sign and ask any questions if you have any.
  8. Payment: You'll also need to make any necessary payments. This can include the down payment, any taxes and fees, and the first payment if you're financing or leasing the car.
  9. Take Delivery: Finally, you can take delivery of the car. The dealership will give you the keys and any necessary documents. Make sure to ask the salesperson to show you how to use any of the car's features, and take the car for a test drive to get comfortable with it.

Overall, buying a car at a dealership can be a complex process, but if you do your research, negotiate well, and read everything carefully, you can come away with a great deal on a new car.

Good luck!

About the author

Jorge Diaz is a passionate car lover, winter driver & Software Engineer. For the last 10 years, he has built Online Solutions used by more than 5,000 companies across the globe. He founded LeaseCosts in 2016 with the purpose of simplifying and helping Canadians to better understand the complex market of car leasing in Canada. You can connect with him at

Jorge is also the author of Car Leasing Done Right: A Canadian Guide for Understanding & Optimizing Vehicle Leasing Costs, released on Nov. 5th, 2021. It is available at