Big deals are good news for consumers. But before you run out to snag a new ride, take some time to learn what you may face when you hit the showroom. You should know how to handle an ambush from over-eager salesmen or loan officers, and have the confidence to walk out if unduly pressured to seal the deal.

strong note : year-end sales events, the annual clearance period when carmakers slash prices to get old models out of their showrooms.

The Ambush

Beware of being shuffled among a never-ending team of auto pros, you shouldn’t have to talk to the sales guy out on the lot, the sales manager, the finance manager, the floor manager and the used-car manager just to buy a car. Pick one to deal with and stick with him.

The Confiscation

Whatever you do, don’t give up the keys to your current vehicle, even if the “used-car manager” asks for them to assess the car for its trade-in value, or if the “sales manager” asks for them as collateral while you take a test drive. If negotiations should go amiss, it’s impossible to walk out on the deal if you have no way to start your car.

The Bum Rush

Salesmen love to hurry you into a deal today. They’ll try all kinds of things: On-the-spot delivery, haggling over details, one-time offers. Don’t let them pressure and bully you into an impulse buy. Show up knowing what kind of car you need and what you can afford to pay and if they can’t provide that, leave.

The good news is that these days, buyers have substantial negotiation power at their fingertips which will help with fending off a bait-and-switch or a lemon sale. Online sources like, Kelley Blue Book and the National Automobile Dealers Association can significantly narrow down the list of what type of car might work best and provide a reasonable price range. And the Better Business Bureau website lists accredited car dealers by region as well.

If all else fails, use common sense. If something seems amiss, walk away. There will always be another car, another day.

It still is buyer beware, especially in these times, If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.