How To Negotiate A Car Price

Whether you are buying your car from a dealer or privately, it’s always worth trying to negotiate the car’s price so that you get the best possible deal. Within this article, we walk you through how to haggle for a used car with our tips that have proven very successful.

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Whether you are buying a budget, mid-range or premium car, there is always room for movement in the price. Therefore, we always recommend that you haggle and drive a hard bargain to get the most for your money.

To ensure that you are prepared when approaching the dealer or private seller, below are our top techniques and tactics on how to negotiate a car’s price

How To Negotiate A Car Price


1. Get A Valuation On We Buy Any Car

Using an online valuation tool such as We Buy Any Car is great for a buyer because you’ll know the car’s “bottom value”. However, as a seller, it can be problematic because it’ll look like you are asking too much for your car if it’s a lot greater than the valuation figure. Therefore, when you negotiate on the car’s price, keep the “bottom value” figure in mind and use it to your advantage.

For example, you could make an offer that’s more than We Buy Any Car’s valuation and state what their valuation figure was to make it sound more tempting to the seller. However, we recommend that you avoid speaking negatively of the seller’s asking price because this may annoy them.

It’s worth pointing out that you can also retrieve valuations from the alternatives to We Buy Any Car as well as other valuations tools available on websites such as AutoTrader, AA, Confused and many others.

2. Check The Specification – What’s Missing?

Everyone will have their own requirements regarding the specification they want. For example, heated seats, DAB radio, reversing cameras, sunroofs, extended leather, cruise control and many other extras are very popular.

However, optional extras are a matter of personal preference and if the car you want to buy doesn’t have the extra and it doesn’t bother you, this can be used as a method of haggling the price. This is because the seller doesn’t know about your preference and you could mention that the car you want is missing certain options that other cars for sale feature.

Similar to the approach mentioned below, you can say that you are going to look at a car nearby that features other extras (even if it isn’t a requirement of yours). After saying this, the seller should start their negotiation and offer a discounted price.

3. Check Rival Dealerships or Cars Nearby As A Comparison

Checking for similar cars at rival dealerships is a great way to haggle the price of a used car because dealers in particular will hate losing out to a rival. Therefore, even if the other car isn’t in the colour or specification you want, as long as it’s cheaper, use it as a method of negotiating the car’s price that you do want to buy.

An example scenario that we recommend saying during the negotiation stage may be “Thanks for letting us view your car but we are going to check out the cheaper model at the dealership a few miles away”. The keyword is “cheaper” and after saying this line (or similar), the seller is more than likely going to reduce the price of their car to complete the sale.

If you are struggling to find similar models, we’ve written a guide that lists the best-used car websites in the UK. From these websites, you’ll be able to narrow down your search and find a nearby model to use as part of your haggling.

how to haggle for a used car

4. Check For Any Damage Or Faults & Mention The Cost Of Repairs

Any damage or faults that you find should be used to negotiate the car’s price. For example, common damage and faults to a car include stone chips, scratches or dents to the bodywork, windscreen chips, curbed alloys, warning lights on the car’s computer, odd noises from the engine, air conditioning blowing warm air and so much more.

No matter how minor the damage or fault is, you should bring it to the attention of the seller if it hasn’t already been mentioned. You can then discuss the repair costs (even if you don’t intend to repair it) in order to get a discounted price.

If you are unsure of what the cost may be to repair the damage or fault, the below articles may help:

As some faults with the engine or electrics may be undetectable, you could take a car diagnostic tool with you to plug into the car. This will uncover any stored or current faults with the car that you can also use as part of your negotiations. However, most of the faults will appear on the dashboard anyway and you’ll need to ask the seller’s permission to plug in your machine beforehand because some people might not want you to do it.

5. Play The Long Game & Don’t Give Anything Away

When you approach the car and the seller asks you questions, you don’t want to give anything away. This means that you don’t want to tell the seller your “actual” maximum purchase price and the reasons why you need the car.

This’ll give the impression that you are willing to look elsewhere even if you want that specific car and nothing else. Therefore, as a seller, you’ll want to keep the buyer motivated and this may lead to a discounted price for the car.

6. Always Offer Under The Asking Price

The most important part of negotiating a car price is to initially offer under the asking price. Ideally, you’ll want to offer lower than you actually want to pay and eventually meet at a middle price point with the seller.

For example, if the seller is asking £12,500 for the car, a good starting offer could be £11,000. However, if the seller declines, they’ll more than likely provide you with a discounted price that you can then negotiate further.

7. Discuss The Length Of Time The Car Has Been For Sale

If a car that you want to buy has been sitting on the forecourt or the seller’s driveway for a long period, it’s certainly something that you want to mention whilst negotiating the car’s price.

As a seller, they’ll be paying to list the car for sale, tax and insurance as well as any depreciation if it’s a new vehicle. Therefore, they’ll be in a position to provide a discounted price to get it gone.

However, if a car has been for sale for a long time, you’ll want to be cautious and check it thoroughly because it might not have sold yet for a certain reason. This may be due to the price, history checks, how the car drives or its condition.

No Discount Provided? Ask For Extras

If you’ve tried your best to negotiate the car’s price with no luck, you could try and get the most out of your money by asking for some extras to be included with the car.

As an example scenario, you could say “If I agree to the price, would you include a full tank of fuel?”. By doing this, the seller will be happy that they have got the price they wanted but you’ve still benefited from your negotiations.

Other extras that you could ask for whilst haggling include:

  • Car cleaning kit
  • New tyres
  • Full detail (interior and exterior)
  • Minor or major service
  • Extended warranties (applies to dealers)

Conclusion

Whenever you are in the position to buy a car, you should always attempt to negotiate on the car’s price because even the most stubborn of sellers will always have some room for negotiation. However, it’s important that you remain polite during your haggling because many sellers may be put off if you are trying too hard with your efforts.

Hopefully our guide on how to negotiate a car price has given you some pointers to get the best possible discount when buying your next car. We’ve used the above negotiation tips on multiple occasions and we’ve always been very successful. However, if you feel that you need further help on how to haggle for a used car, feel free to get in touch.

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