questions on auto financing & dealer negotiation

A 2004 chrysler pacifica (28k miles, awd) is listed at $20,990 at my local chrysler dealer on Long Island (NY). This looks like a reasonable
price (and my online research confirms it is well within standard book values), but is it true that dealers can normally be talked into shaving a few dollars off the sticker price? I intend to trade in my 1994 Ford Explorer (eddie bauer) which has clocked in 102k miles. Is $19k a realistic demand? How do I spin it?
Initially I have to finance 100% of this but will pay off the full balance by March. Will they slam a bank fee? Do penalties apply for paying off the loan early
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First off, do not EVER buy a used vehicle without running the VIN through carfax. Among the many things to watch for right now are used cars from the areas hit by the recent hurricanes down south.
The markup (and corresponding profit) on used cars is high and there should be plenty of room for negotiation. However, be aware that you are conducting three different transactions - buying a vehicle, selling a vehicle, and arranging financing. The dealer will mix all of these together to maximize his profit. You will usually do better - often much better - if you sell your '94 yourself and arrange your own financing through your bank or credit union, then go in and get the best price you can on the '04.

Depends on the terms of the loan. If you use your bank or credit union, there will probably be no penalties for early payoff. Finance companies and dealer financing are a different story and may indeed impose such a penalty.
--
John Goulden
'91 Eddie Bauer 4x4, 210K
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My experience with buying used cars from dealers is that the will almost always take less unless they have already discounted it because it's been sitting on the lot too long. I first look to see how much they are selling for by private parties and then make an offer that I believe is fair. I look up the KBB trade-in value. I take into consideration what work they may have done to the car such as new brakes, changed the fluids, etc. Anything they give you for your old '94 Explorer is really just a few bucks they are taking off the sales price of the car you are buying. They will auction it off or squish it into a cube. Like John Goulden said you would be better off selling it yourself. There may be someone out there that would be glad to get it.
I make an offer, they go get the General Manager, he uses hard sales tactics, I don't budge from my offer, and they accept it. Or I walk away. So far they have always accepted. If you find yourself slipping and agreeing to pay more than you decided on then they "got you." For some reason the last day of the month is a good day to buy a used car. Something to do with quotas.
Get a loan that has no pre-payment penalty. They exist.

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