How Do You Know If a Car Dealership Is Reputable?

If you’re shopping for a car, whether new or used, you’d want to be sure that the dealership is legitimate and trustworthy. 🤔 But how do you know if a car dealership is reputable? We’ve gathered some of the ways you can check different car sellers before you spend your hard-earned money on this big purchase. 

Check Customer Reviews

Thanks to the internet, it’s much easier to get an idea of other customers’ experiences of buying cars from a particular dealership. These days there are many online review websites and comparison websites where you can read customer testimonials. 

Many car dealerships also have testimonials on their websites but of course, those would be only the positive ones. You’d want to know if there are negative ones, too so that you’ll have a better picture of what the dealership is like. And remember that not all reviews are necessarily genuine so don't use this as your only source of reference. 

Approved by AA and RAC

AA and RAC are motoring associations that approve car dealers. Dealerships sign up to these associations because being approved by them informs the customers that they can be trusted. 

Apart from that, there are also perks to this. For example, with RAC, vehicles go through an 82-point preparation test, a service, as well as an MOT. There is also a one-year warranty plus 12 months of breakdown recovery cover. 

If you bought a car from a dealership that has been approved by motoring associations, you will have that added security when it comes to the quality of the vehicle. You also shouldn’t have to worry about spending on repairs for a year.

The Cars Look Great

When buying a car, you don’t just look at the exterior. However, this doesn’t mean that you should dismiss that altogether. A reputable dealership would put in the effort to make sure that the cars they’re selling look good inside and out. 

Some dealers may sell cars for rock-bottom prices but they often don’t care much about keeping the vehicles clean and inviting. Look for car sellers that keep the vehicles well-maintained, both the exterior and interior because that tells a lot about how they take care of their business. And a previous owner who hasn't taken care of the car, most likely didn't worry about regular maintenance either!

You’re Allowed to Test Drive

If a car dealership doesn’t allow customers to test drive a car, it’s best to move on and find a reputable dealer. Test drives are important because it allows the customer to get to know the vehicle more so they can arrive at a sound decision whether the car is a good fit for them. When you drive a car you get to hear any unusual noises or bad road handling, which might alert you to potential problems. 

Trustworthy dealerships will be happy to let you test drive a car. If the dealer is truly confident in what they’re selling and they’ve got nothing to hide, this won’t be a problem. They may even encourage you to do so because they know test drives are important when making a decision to purchase a car. 

The Sales Representatives Pay Attention

Many car dealerships are commission-based. You might encounter salespeople who are too aggressive and pushing you to buy a car that’s way above your budget. Ideally, salespeople should listen to you and what your needs are and then help you in choosing a car within your budget that can fulfil those requirements.

If you feel they are not listening and are just being too focused on making a sale, then it’s better to find another car dealership. A good dealer will have sales representatives that care about the customers and listen attentively to what you’re looking for in a car. They’ll help you narrow down your choices and guide you in your buying journey. 

No Dirty Tactics

Some car dealerships may advertise really good deals only to lead customers into their store and then push them to buy their products. This is not a good practice at all. When dealers advertise their deals, they should be able to keep their end of the bargain and not trick customers into a different deal once they’re in the store. 

If you think you’re in a tricky situation like this, always keep in mind that you have all the right not to buy anything. If they’re being aggressive in their selling tactics, just thank them and politely say that you’d like to leave their dealership. 

Don’t feel pressured about buying a car from a dealer like this. Even if you think you can’t say no to them anymore, as long as you haven’t signed anything, you are free to check another dealership and buy a car elsewhere. 


It takes so much trust in order to purchase a car. You’re going to spend a great deal of money on your perfect car, so it’s only right that you’re absolutely sure about the car dealership first. Follow the tips we’ve provided above and you’ll have a better chance of finding a sound car seller. If you're looking for a list of auto directories, we've got you covered.

Remember that if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn't, and move to the next dealership. It follows that, apart from doing thorough research, you should trust your instincts when it comes to an important decision like choosing a reputable car dealership. If you decide you need car finance, then it's reassuring to know that Carmoola only does business with reputable dealerships, so this should give you added reassurance.  😊