How to deal with dealer anxiety

This is going to sound like a silly question, but here goes:

Short: how do I get a new car (including figuring out what I want via test drive) without dealing with the pressures of a pushy dealer?

Long: new social situations give me anxiety. I also can be easily agitated. So I want to find a comfortable way to test drive cars without going into numbers on the spot, and without having to be a jerk (or worse). I’m 31 male, and don’t want to bring a family member.

Is there a secret way of doing business I’m unaware of? (For the macho guys out there, pretend I’m your kid and don’t want you to come with me, what’s your advice?)

There is no secret, just mention that you are not going to buy a car anytime soon but you still want to test drive it. Don’t go on a busy or rainy day.


When it comes time to negotiate a car, do EVERYTHING by email. Only go in to sign papers and take delivery.

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“I love my Yugo GVX-EFI and am inclined to lease another, but my brother in law in Moline insists I check out the Bugatti Veyron that he drives before I pull the trigger…”

You’ll still likley be pulled into sitting down to discuss numbers, so “I still need to drive the AMC Hornet before I can really make a decision”

You get the idea…btw, names have been changed to protect the innocent (and not-so innocent).

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I have had luck in the past emailing the internet sales manager, telling them I’m only in the research phase of my purchase, and ask to set up an appointment to just test drive. That’s usually resulted in the lowest pressure experiences for me.

Beyond that, you just have to be ok saying no.


So you might be able to put a twist on the strategy I use when I go car shopping for my wife & mother. They both have zero patience for dealing with salesman so I upfront let them know she is here to see if she likes the car, can you explain the features, take them for a test drive etc. & if they like it I will be in touch to discuss pricing. Maybe something like… my company will be purchasing the car I have a choice between a few models, if they try to get into pricing just let them know you are only there to decide on the car not make the purchase. Or last idea, Say you want to straight purchase cash. Get a number and don’t go back & forth. If they pressure you say I have other cars I’m looking at first. If you decide to move forward reach out via email, tell them you changed your mind and now want to lease.

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For test drives:
(1) Find a reputable dealer via yelp.

(2) find car in inventory you wish to drive

(3) submit online inquiry for vehicle and ask to setup a test drive during the week during a low traffic time.

(4) make clear when scheduling you’re test driving at this point only and want to be respectful of their time.

(5) arrive at dealer on time and ask for your sales rep.

(6) take test drive. Answer their questions about your timeline and other vehicles.

(7) park car. Ask for their card so you can reach out when you’re ready.

(8) get in your car and go home.

No muss no fuss.

For buying:
Negotiate everything over email. Set foot in dealer to sign paperwork only.


Only somewhat related, but if I go to the dealer for a test drive and the salesperson insists on riding along, I usually won’t end up buying there. Can’t really get a feel for the car. Feels like I’m taking a driving test.

is this because you also have anxiety or just a personal pet peeve? Depending on a car, the salesman expects it to be driven a certain way, unless you drive recklessly and homicidal.

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I used to feel that way but it’s not worth the hassle half the time. I just do whatever I want like they aren’t there. I spent 15 minutes BLASTING the new Tool album trying out the B&W System in an XC60 the salesman was cool about it. I have recently test driven an M340, C43 and G70. I drove them very hard and fast but not crazy and the salesman were fine. They understand people buying cars like these aren’t driving like grandma. Of course I would prefer taking it out on my own but in South Florida it’s just to much hassle. Then there is infiniti who wanted me to take the car home for the weekend no questions asked.

vhooloo sez

First research the internet and the cars so you know things like MSRP, discount, Money Factor etc etc. Knowledge is a key weapon.

Second Go to the dealership at the beginning of the month, say you are looking & not yet sure about buying and ask for a test drive and pricing. Then say thank you and leave. These practice runs will relieve your anxiety, practice makes perfect.

Finally, son (since you asked us to treat you as our kid), put away the facebook, the snapchat, the imessage and actually go out and meet real people like on a sports team or at work :slight_smile:
Incel and socially awkward is no way to go though life… Best of luck

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Hire a broker. Well worth it.

lucky you got to test drive, I ask to test drive and they say we don’t do that around here :man_facepalming:. They should give more dealers demo M/amg/s/srt/ etc. etc. cars.

Most sales guys in their 20s and 30s don’t mind you testing out sound systems from my experience they also don’t mind you getting on the car but it’s likely the sm and gsm’s that dictate no test drives on certain cars.

I don’t blame em tho, most people don’t want the car test driven before they purchase/lease for these performance cars.

I’ve never heard of no test drives. Who would buy a car without driving it first?

He wants to learn… a broker won’t make him socially less awkward. Gotta take the bull by the horns …


go to an auto mall. they are used to people just coming in for test drives and leaving.
or, get a girl sales person :wink:

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He wants a deal on a car in the first place.

But he also wants to do a test drive, so yeah. He needs to learn just to say “no”

No test drives on 63 amg’s, hellcats, M cars, z06 vettes, shelby’s, gt-r’s, etc. etc. assuming new car under 20 miles.

Just the experiences I had so far, my dad said back in the early 2000’s he would get laughed out of Porsche dealerships if he wanted to test drive a turbo or gt2 even if he put a refundable deposit, not to mention Ferrari and lambo dealerships. Funny thing is if these cars are remotely used i.e. title issue and it only has 500 or 1k miles they don’t mind if you test drive provided your credentials checked out.

True story he was about to buy a r35 gtr back in 2009 (well let’s just say I was the “driving force,” behind that one as a 14 year old having watched the f&f movies) He went to 3 dealers with gtrs in the showroom and none allowed test drives on the car, “if you are gonna buy the car you are gonna do it regardless of a test drive,” he ended up going with the safe bet the e60 m5, never drove a benz before he bought the e55 either :see_no_evil:.

Everything’s worked out so far, I just wish they would give certain dealers demo’s for prospective buyers to experience the car.

Probably both. Anxiety and pet peeve. I would say I drive with a little aggression, but not reckless. :grin:

My lease is up soon, so I’ll just have to do like you and pretend they aren’t in the car when I do test drives.