Do you know 57% of car shoppers buy their dream cars from car dealerships? Choosing the right car dealership is a crucial step in the car-buying process.

A reliable one can make your experience smooth and enjoyable, while the wrong one may lead to stress and regrets. In this article, we’ll share essential tips for selecting the perfect car dealership to suit your needs and preferences.

Join us as we explore expert advice and actionable insights to help you make an informed decision and drive off with the car you’ve always wanted. Let’s get started on this journey to find the ideal car dealership for you!

1. Determine Your Needs

The first step in finding the best car dealership is to determine your specific needs and preferences. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What type of vehicle am I looking for? (e.g., sedan, SUV, truck, etc.)
  • What is my budget for the purchase?
  • Do I have any specific features or options in mind? (e.g., advanced safety features, infotainment system, etc.)

Understanding your requirements will help you narrow down your search and focus on dealerships that offer vehicles that align with your preferences.

2. Research Multiple Dealerships

According to Cox Automotive, Car Buyers spend 14 hours and 39 minutes researching, shopping, and purchasing their vehicle online before visiting a dealership. Before making any decisions, conduct thorough research on multiple car dealerships in your area.

Look for reviews, ratings, and customer feedback online to gauge their reputation and customer satisfaction. By comparing different dealerships, you can identify which ones have a track record of providing excellent service and value to their customers.

We’ve made this step easy for you by conducting extensive research on the top car dealerships from every state, considering factors such as their reviews, customer service, financing options, and vehicle selections.

Best Car Dealerships in Every State
Car Dealerships in AlabamaCar Dealerships in AlaskaCar Dealerships in Arizona
Car Dealerships in ArkansasCar Dealerships in CaliforniaCar Dealerships in Colorado
Car Dealerships in ConnecticutCar Dealerships in DelawareCar Dealerships in Florida
Car Dealerships in GeorgiaCar Dealerships in HawaiiCar Dealerships in Idaho
Car Dealerships in IllinoisCar Dealerships in IndianaCar Dealerships in Iowa
Car Dealerships in KansasCar Dealerships in KentuckyCar Dealerships in Louisiana
Car Dealerships in MaineCar Dealerships in MarylandCar Dealerships in Massachusetts
Car Dealerships in Michigan Car Dealerships in MinnesotaCar Dealerships in Mississippi
Car Dealerships in MissouriCar Dealerships in MontanaCar Dealerships in Nebraska
Car Dealerships in NevadaCar Dealerships in New HampshireCar Dealerships in New Jersey
Car Dealerships in New MexicoCar Dealerships in New YorkCar Dealerships in North Carolina
Car Dealerships in North DakotaCar Dealerships in OhioCar Dealerships in Oklahoma
Car Dealerships in OregonCar Dealerships in PennsylvaniaCar Dealerships in Rhode Island
Car Dealerships in South CarolinaCar Dealerships in South DakotaCar Dealerships in Tennessee
Car Dealerships in TexasCar Dealerships in UtahCar Dealerships in Vermont
Car Dealerships in VirginiaCar Dealerships in WashingtonCar Dealerships in West Virginia
Car Dealerships in WisconsinCar Dealerships in WyomingCar Dealerships in Puerto Rico

3. Check the Inventory

A reputable car dealership should offer a wide range of vehicle options to choose from. Whether you are interested in new cars, pre-owned vehicles, or certified pre-owned models, the dealership should have a diverse inventory.

This allows you to have more choices and increases the likelihood of finding the perfect car that matches your requirements.

Example: Imagine you are looking for a specific make and model of a car, but a dealership only has a limited selection. However, another dealership nearby has multiple options, including different colors and trim levels. This gives you the flexibility to choose the exact car you want.

4. Consider Customer Service

70% of car buyers say that customer service is the most important factor in choosing a dealership.  A good dealership will have friendly, knowledgeable, and professional staff who are willing to assist you throughout the buying journey.

They should be patient in addressing your queries and provide honest advice to help you make informed decisions. Inquire about the dealership’s service department and read reviews about their maintenance and repair services.

A reliable and efficient service department will ensure that your vehicle stays in optimal condition throughout its lifespan.

5. Evaluate the Dealership’s Reputation

70% of car buyers said that online reviews significantly influenced their decision in choosing a dealership. The reputation of a car dealership speaks volumes about its credibility.

Check for any history of complaints or unresolved issues with consumer protection agencies. Websites like Google, Yelp, and DealerRater are excellent resources to read unbiased reviews from previous customers.

Look for dealerships with high ratings and positive feedback, as they are more likely to provide a satisfactory car-buying experience.

6. Pricing Transparency

Transparent pricing is a sign of a trustworthy dealership. Look for dealerships that clearly display the price of their vehicles without hidden fees or additional charges. A reputable dealership will provide you with a breakdown of all costs involved, including taxes, registration, and any optional add-ons.

I once visited a dealership where the advertised price of a car seemed like a great deal. However, upon further inquiry, I discovered that there were additional fees for accessories and documentation that were not initially disclosed. This experience taught me the importance of transparent pricing.

7. Inquire About Financing Options

Look for dealerships that work with multiple lenders to provide you with competitive interest rates and flexible repayment terms. A dealership that can assist you in finding suitable financing solutions is a valuable asset in your car buying process.

Compare interest rates, loan terms, and any special financing offers. It’s advisable to get pre-approved for a loan from your bank or credit union beforehand, so you have a basis for comparison and can secure the most favorable financing terms.

8. Check for Additional Services

Beyond the sale, consider what additional services the dealership provides. Services like maintenance and repair, warranty coverage, and after-sales support are vital factors to consider. A dealership that offers comprehensive post-purchase services ensures that your car remains in top condition for years to come.

9. Test Drive Opportunities

On average, car buyers test drive at least three different vehicles before making a decision. 81% of car buyers rated the test-driving process 8-10 out of 10 for their satisfaction

A reliable dealership will encourage and facilitate test drives. Test driving a car allows you to get a feel for how it handles on the road and whether it meets your comfort and driving preferences.

10. Verify Certification and Accreditation

52% of used car buyers prefer certified pre-owned vehicles due to their extended warranties and thorough inspections. If you are interested in purchasing a used car, ensure that the dealership provides certified pre-owned vehicles.

These cars often undergo rigorous inspections and come with extended warranties, giving you peace of mind in your purchase.

11. Compare Prices

Don’t settle for the first dealership you visit. Compare prices of similar vehicles across different dealerships to ensure you are getting the best deal possible. Remember to consider all the added benefits and services each dealership offers to get a complete picture of the value they provide.

12. Negotiation Options

Don’t be afraid to negotiate the price of the car. Dealerships often have room for negotiation, especially if you have done your research and have evidence to support a lower price. Be polite but assertive during the negotiation process and be prepared to walk away if the terms are not to your satisfaction.

13. Visit the Dealership in Person

91% of car buyers consider visiting a dealership in person as crucial in the decision-making process. While online research is informative, physically visiting the dealerships is crucial to assess the vehicles and their customer service.

Interacting with the sales representatives allows you to gauge their knowledge, professionalism, and willingness to assist you. Pay attention to how the staff treats you and whether they address your questions and concerns adequately.

14. Trust Your Instincts

Ultimately, trust your instincts when choosing a car dealership. If something doesn’t feel right or you have reservations, it’s best to explore other options. Buying a car is a significant investment, and you should feel confident and comfortable with your decision.

15. Read the Fine Print

Before signing any contracts or agreements, carefully read the fine print. Ensure that you understand all the terms and conditions, including warranty details and any potential return policies.

Questions to Ask When Visiting a Car Dealership

Preparing for a car buying visit involves asking the right questions to ensure you make an informed decision. Here are some important questions to ask the salesperson during your visit:

  • What is the vehicle’s history? Inquire about the car’s previous ownership, any accidents or major repairs, and its maintenance records.
  • Are there any warranty options available for the vehicle? Learn about warranty coverage and duration to protect your investment.
  • Can I take the vehicle for a pre-purchase inspection by an independent mechanic? This step helps verify the car’s condition and identify potential issues.
  • What are the vehicle’s fuel efficiency and maintenance costs? Understanding ongoing expenses is crucial for long-term budget planning.
  • Are there any recalls or safety concerns with the model? Ensure the vehicle meets all safety standards.
  • What is the dealership’s return policy? Know your options in case you encounter unforeseen issues after the purchase.

By asking these questions, you’ll gain valuable insights to make the right choice and drive away with confidence in your new car.


Finding the best car dealership near you requires careful research, in-person visits, and a thorough evaluation of your reputation and services. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can confidently choose a dealership that meets your needs and provides an exceptional car-buying experience.


How to buy a car from a dealership:

  • Do your research. Before you even step foot in a dealership, you should know what kind of car you want, how much you can afford, and what the fair market value is for that car. You can use online resources like Edmunds or Kelley Blue Book to get this information.
  • Visit multiple dealerships. Don’t just go to the first dealership you see. Visit several dealerships to compare prices, features, and customer service.
  • Test drive the car. This is essential to making sure that the car is right for you. Take the car for a test drive on different roads and in different conditions to see how it handles.
  • Negotiate the price. The sticker price is not always the final price. Be prepared to negotiate with the salesperson to get the best possible deal.
  • Read the contract carefully before signing it. Make sure you understand all the terms and conditions, including the warranty, financing, and trade-in value.

Can you return a car to a dealership?

Yes, you can return a car to a dealership within a certain period of time, usually 3-7 days. However, there are usually some restrictions, such as the car must be in good condition and you must have a valid reason for returning it.

Can I sell my car to a dealership?

Yes, you can sell your car to a dealership. However, you will usually get a better price if you sell it privately.

What forms of payment do car dealerships accept?

Car dealerships typically accept cash, checks, credit cards, and financing. However, some dealerships may have restrictions on the types of credit cards they accept or the amount of cash they will accept.

Can you negotiate used car prices at a dealership?

Yes, you can negotiate used car prices at a dealership. However, the amount of negotiation you can do will depend on the car’s condition, the demand for the car, and the dealership’s policies.

What to bring to the car dealership:

Here are some things you should bring to a car dealership:

  • Your driver’s license and proof of insurance.
  • Your budget.
  • Research the car you want.
  • A copy of your credit report.
  • A pre-approved loan if you are financing the car.

What is the most successful dealership?

There is no one answer to this question, as the most successful dealership can vary depending on factors such as location, size, and type of dealership. However, some of the most successful dealerships in the United States include:

  • CarMax: CarMax is a large used car dealership chain with over 200 locations nationwide.
  • Penske Automotive Group: Penske Automotive Group is a large automotive retailer with over 300 dealerships nationwide.
  • AutoNation: AutoNation is the largest automotive retailer in the United States with over 300 dealerships nationwide.

What is the cheapest month to buy a car?

The cheapest month to buy a car is typically December, followed by January and February. This is because dealerships are trying to clear out their inventory to make room for new models.


  • Justin Smith

    Justin Smith is a highly skilled freelance writer with over three years of experience in content editing, writing, and SEO. Specializing in the automotive industry and car trade insights, she delivers valuable and engaging articles. With a passion for cars and a focus on keyword ranking, Justin Smith's expertise empowers readers to navigate the complexities of buying and selling vehicles. Choose Justin Smith as your trusted author for authoritative car trade insights.

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