Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips and Reviews

Couple shopping at potential dealerships in Carbondale (IL)

Choosing the Right Dealership

At the risk of sounding like a meme: I don’t know who needs this right now, but there are more options than you might realize when it comes to car dealerships in Carbondale (IL). Okay, we’re not trying to single out Carbondale. We’re simply trying to convey that, no matter where you are, selection of the right dealership is an important part of the car-buying process.

Because your relationship with a dealership is just that – a relationship. And as opposed to most relationships (where one normally treads lightly on the first few dates) your decision to do business with a dealership ends almost immediately with a bond that could cost tens-of-thousands of dollars, and last up to six years!

So, if dealerships tend to get bad raps from so many car-buyers, why aren’t more car-buyers selective of the dealerships they buy from? Why don’t they perform more due diligence to ensure that they’re making the right choice? After all, the breadth of technology makes assurance a relatively easy thing to find.

That said, this suggestion is best illustrated by applying certain strategies to a particular area. And since we’ve already chosen Carbondale, why don’t we just go ahead and dive into the dealerships that Illinoisans might be choosing between, if looking to buy in that area.

Welcome to Carbondale

With just over 26,000 citizens, Carbondale homes average one vehicle and a 13.2-minute commute to their place of employment. Taking this into consideration, along with the median income level of under $20,000 (nearly 1/3 the national median) and the fact that postsecondary teachers claim the most common occupation in the area, we can make certain assumptions. First is that accessibility of pricing matters, emphasizing a desire to obtain as much as possible with a relatively conservative financial investment. Second is that reliability matters, based on the burden of attendance shouldered by educators. Granted, one could argue that both are universal considerations…but it’s highly likely that they’re intrinsic to the vehicle buying habits of Carbondale residents. Factor in the likeliness of a predisposition towards fuel economy and the picture becomes a little bit clearer.

Meet the Players

Well, some of them anyway…

The automotive landscape in Carbondale has a nicely varied selection of dealerships to choose from. Most of them include a diverse blend of both new and pre-owned offerings, stretched across a of variety domestic automakers and otherwise. Names like Vogler Ford, Vic Koenig Chevrolet and Ward Chrysler Center are just a few examples of the former. Then, there are a variety of smaller used car dealers such as Auto World, Wild Motors, or Best Buy Auto Sales.

This diversity empowers residents of Carbondale to find the buying, financing and inventory options that work best for them – before they ever start looking outside of their immediate community. Assuming that a buyer has determined the make, models and/or trim levels that fit the unique demands of both their lifestyle and budget, the act of becoming more intimate with the dealers is important.

Sedans in sunny car dealership in Carbondale (IL)

Digging Deeper

So what happens when we start to explore the automotive players in the greater Carbondale area? From review sites like to employment sites like, we can gain valuable insights into the culture(s) that they create for customers and employees alike.

Once again, not to pick on anyone, bet let’s use Vic Koenig Chevrolet as a guinea pig. A quick hop over to YELP! and our first thoughts are that there are only three reviews. What does that tell us? Well, people with positive buying experiences are likely to share it with others, but people with negative experience are even more likely to vent. The relative absence of reviews might indicate that Vic Koenig Chevrolet is a perfect average dealership that straddles the line.

But then we look at the (one) positive review and see that it goes back to 2015. The (2) negative reviews are from 2017, with one detailing an issue with vehicle reliability and the other addressing a buyer-culture issue.

Understanding that there are three sides to every story, we can hop over to the dealership website. If accurate, the availability of 229 reviews and an average score of 4.8 stars is certainly reassuring. At face value, it would appear that these paint the dealership in a far more positive light. And considering the relative absence of negative posts to be found, it’s highly likely that Vic Koenig Chevrolet is a reputable dealership worth getting to know.

Hopping over to VKC’s public Facebook page, we also see a number of positive reviews and an approval score of 4.4 (out of 5) based on the opinion of 240 customers. Is every customer review indicative of a satisfying purchase? No. But it’s important to note the patterns.

Studies show that humans have a tendency to look for patterns where there are none while disregarding patterns if they don’t fit the individual’s preferred narrative. The convenience offered by technology allows us to gain a better understanding of prior customers’ experiences with a dealership. Social media allows us to gain more intimacy with how they engage with customers (both existing, and prospective) while observing the culture that they’ve created. It’s about reading between the proverbial lines, hearing what is, and isn’t being said. Bottom-line, all the help you need is there for the taking. You just need to be receptive to it.

Trusting Your Instincts

Another element of exploring a dealership’s website is the assessment of buying tools, intended to make the experience easier. From payment and trade calculators to the ability of scheduling a test drive, dealerships that create a buyer-centric environment are worth meeting in person.

Then, it simply comes down to trusting your instincts. Automotive sales is a high-pressure vocation, and a dealership or salesperson who minimizes that sense of pressure deserves some credit and consideration. If you’re willing to research dealerships with the same diligence that you’ve researched the vehicles themselves, you’re highly likely to make an informed decision.

Dealer Choice

Ultimately, the choice is yours; well, at least once you accept the inherent limitations of dealership availability within your immediate geography. But even taking that into consideration, alongside any predisposition that you might have toward a particular automaker, don’t short-sell yourself out of convenience.

A car buyer should never lose sight of the significance of a vehicle purchase, or the power of their individual buying dollars. It’s a major purchase, and you shouldn’t feel any obligation to buy from a dealership that you’re not entirely confident in. The expectation of a satisfying experience, both in terms of car-buying and car-owning, shouldn’t be written off trivially as a sense of entitlement.

So, be honest with yourself. Do the research. Decide what you want. Accept nothing less than what you deserve, and what will leave you satisfied. By setting these goals and remaining focused on them, you can sidestep the pitfalls and perils of buying a car from dealerships in Carbondale (or anywhere else).

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