How to Negotiate the Best Deal on Used Cars

Photo by Anthony Shkraba from Pexels

A car is one of the biggest purchases we’ll ever make – often second only to buying property. It’s a big decision, and certainly not one to be taken lightly. And, although everybody wants to get a good deal, many find haggling to be a very unpleasant experience. It doesn’t need to be an ordeal, though. Our guide will help you to confidently negotiate with your dealer. 

Make sure you do your homework...

When you’re in the company of a car salesman, it’s of enormous benefit to have made a clear decision on exactly what car you’re after. This should be in your mind at the very beginning of your car-buying process. When test-driving a car, or even looking at them online, pay specific attention to which aspects you like, and which you dislike. 

Build a shortlist of cars up and then eliminate them one by one. Once you’ve settled on a final choice, you’re in a position to decide on specifics, like your ideal specification, colour, and whether you want a manual or an automatic gearbox. The more specific you are with what you want, the stronger your position in the showroom.

Know the Price

Before you can negotiate, you need to know what the official recommended price of the car is. It’ll usually be listed on the manufacturer’s website, and most carmakers publish brochures and price lists that outline the purchase price of a car and any optional extras available. If in doubt, our sister magazine Auto Express includes the latest figures in every issue.

Having a specification in mind, and knowing the manufacturer’s recommended price for it, puts you in a strong position to negotiate. You can also immediately pick up on any attempts the dealer might make to sell you a different model! 

If you’ve set your heart on a specific model, be wary of offers of special deals on a lower-specification car. It’s rare that a dealer will go out of their way to save you money – suggesting an alternative model is often more beneficial to the dealer than it is to you.

What to be aware of

Car salesmen are often genuinely very pleasant people but bear in mind that enjoying a relaxed, chatty atmosphere can lead to you dropping your guard. These days, sales executives are increasingly well trained and the most effective ones can exploit a relaxed, cheerful customer to their advantage. Your sole reason for sitting at the salesman’s desk is to get the best deal possible, while his job is to make as much profit for his company as he can. 

Set a budget and shop around!

It can be of great benefit to buy from a dealer close to where you live, as it makes life easy if you need to report any issues with your new car. Warranty trips are nice and easy, and servicing is made simple, too. 

Nonetheless, getting quotes in writing from a number of dealers from the same manufacturer or franchise before showing these to your local dealer can help significantly when it comes to negotiations – even if they can’t better the deal offered by other dealers, they may be able to match it. 

Setting a budget is probably the most important aspect of negotiation, knowing your limit of what you can afford to repay on a monthly basis. Setting a budget stops you from being swayed by things you don’t need such as extra warranty or special mats.

Do a background check

If you’re buying a used car, be sure to run a background check on it. Companies like HPI, the AA, and the RAC will make sure there’s no outstanding finance on a car and it hasn’t been stolen or written off. All they need to do this is a number plate. 

While many dealers will provide background checks on the cars they sell for you, a quick phone call to the checking company to confirm the details provided is always a good idea. If any problems do show up, walk away from the deal politely, but immediately!

Don't play hardball

It’s easy to go straight into bad cop mode when you’re preparing to negotiate, however, this isn’t always the best approach. Remember that a successful negotiation is not about a win-lose scenario but a win-win one.

Whatever car you’re after, or deal you’re offered, there’s one thing it’s always worth bearing in mind when buying a new car: with nearly 2.5 million new cars sold each year in the UK, the power and the choice are firmly in your hands. 

Make it easy... let CarMoney handle the stress!

Or why not do all of the fun stuff like test driving cars from different dealerships and then come to us with the car you want and we will do the rest! Even if you are struggling to find the car you want on your budget, our industry-expert ninjas can find you a car to fit the bill! 

We make car finance easy, and we can even deliver the car right to you! Why not take our car finance calculator for a spin and see what rates you might get from our panel of lenders?





Posted 08/07/2021 Back to Blog

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