If your car salesman tries to negotiate the price of a car by focusing on the amount of your monthly loan payments, it could be their way of hiding the fact the car is overpriced. Even a payment that seems like a bargain could add up to a premium price if the loan term is long and the interest is high.
"You want to talk about the total price of the car," Montoya says. "If you've done your research and found the market value (of the car), you'll know whether they're giving you a good price."
One way to sidestep the financing schemes is to get loan pre-approval from an outside source, such as your credit union or bank, Montoya says. If you have your financing in hand and know about how much you want to spend on the vehicle, you'll already have a ballpark figure for your monthly payment. But be sure to ask if the automaker is offering any special interest rates. The dealer may be able to beat your bank's offer with a superlow promotional rate.