How To Negotiate The Best Deal For A Used Car: An Expert’s Advice

Table of Contents

When you are shopping for a used car, one of the most important things to consider is how much it will lose in value. Cars lose a lot of their value over time, so you need to think about how much you’re willing to spend on a car that will only be worth a fraction of what you paid for it in just a few years.

A new vehicle typically loses 10-20% of its value as soon as it is driven off the lot. It may lose up to 30% of its value after one year, and up to 50% after three years. This varies depending on the make and model of the car, as well as other factors.

On the other hand, used cars lose value more slowly than new cars. They may lose 10% to 20% of their value after three years, and up to 30% after five years.

When you are negotiating the price of a used car, you have more room to negotiate than if you were negotiating the price of a new car. Do you want to learn more about how to negotiate for the best deal when buying a used car?

Here are some tips on how to get the best used car price:

Do your research

Before you begin negotiating, it’s important to do your research. This includes finding out the fair market value of the car you’re interested in. You can find this information on websites like Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds.

To get the fair market value of a used car, you can either call them or visit their website. Once you have this information, you’ll be in a better position to negotiate.

Pre-approve financing

If you’re planning to finance your car, it’s a good idea to get a pre-approved loan before you start negotiating. This way, you’ll know how much you can afford to spend on the car, especially with your monthly payment.

This will prevent you from overspending on the car and help you stay within your budget. Likewise, get a pre-approved loan from different credit unions or banks to compare interest rates and terms.

Start low

When you start negotiating, it’s important to start low. This doesn’t mean that you should offer an unreasonably low price, but you should start below the fair market value. For example, if the fair market value is $15,000, you might start by offering $12,500.

You can always increase your offer, but it is more difficult to decrease an offer once it has been made. If you start with a low offer, you will have some room to negotiate. Remember, car dealerships will try to get the highest price possible and your job is to find a way get into a lower price.

Be firm

When you make an offer on a car, it is important to be firm. This means that if the car salesperson or dealer counters with a higher price, you should not agree to it right away.

Instead, counter with a lower price or walk away from the deal. If you’re not firm in your negotiating, you might end up paying more for the car than you should.

You also need to be firm about the price you are willing to pay. If the dealer isn’t willing to lower the car price, don’t give in and agree to pay more than you wanted. It is important to stick to your budget and not overspend.

Be prepared to walk away

If the car dealer does not want to meet your price, do not be afraid to walk away from the car deal. This will show them that you are not desperate and that you are willing to walk away from this bad deal.

Keep in mind that you might not get the exact car that you want or the exact price you want. However, by following these tips, you’ll be in a better position to negotiate a fair price for a used car. Remember to stay calm and be reasonable when negotiating especially with private sellers.

Be Strategic

There are usually good times to buy a used vehicle. For example, a good deal often comes at the end of the model year when dealers want to clear out their inventory to make room for new models. This might mean that you can get a good deal on an older used car.

It’s also generally better to buy a used car towards the end of the month, as car dealerships are trying to meet sales quotas. You might be able to get a better deal if you wait until the last week of the month to buy.

These are not always the only times to get a good deal on a used car, but they are generally good times to remember. When you are negotiating the price of a used car, keep these times in mind.

Take Your Time

When you are negotiating for a better price on a used car, it is important to relax and take your time. Remember, a car purchase is a big thing and you want to make sure that you are getting the best price possible.

Getting hasty and agreeing to a bad deal will not save you any time or money in the long run. So, take your time, relax, and don’t be afraid to walk away from a bad deal.

Get the Vehicle History Report

If you are buying a used car from a dealer, they should provide you with a vehicle history report. This will tell you about any accidents or major damage that the car has been in.

If you are buying a used car from a private seller, you can still get this report. You will need the car’s VIN (vehicle identification number) to get one. These reports usually cost around $40 and they can be worth it, as they can tell you a lot about the car’s history.

If the car has been in a major accident or has had other significant damage, you might want to reconsider buying it. Getting this report is a good way to find out this information before you buy.

Check for recalls

Even if a used car has been well-maintained, there might be some hidden issues. One way to check for these is to see if there have been any recalls on the car.

You can do this by going to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website and entering in the car’s VIN. This will tell you if there have been any recalls on a specific car vehicle

If there have been recalled, you might be able to negotiate a lower price on the car sale. Or, you might decide that it is not worth buying a car that has had serious issues in the past.

Check for lemon laws

Before you buy a used car, it is important to check your state’s lemon laws. These laws vary from state to state, but they generally offer protections for buyers of a used vehicle.

For example, some states have laws that require used car dealerships to give buyers a warranty on the car. This means that if something goes wrong with the car, you might be able to get it repaired for free.

Other states have laws that protect buyers from being sold a “lemon” car. This means a car that has serious defects that make it unsafe to drive. If you buy a lemon car, you might be able to get your money back or get the car dealer to pay for repairs.

Stick To Your Budget

When you negotiate the best price for a car, it is important to consider your budget. This includes not just the price of the car, but also things like auto insurance, gas, and maintenance. Once you have a good understanding of your budget, you can start looking for cars that fall within your price range.

Similarly, sticking to your budget makes you an informed buyer. A car salesperson will try to upsell you on things like add-ons and extended warranties. But, if you know what your budget is, you can say no to these things and save yourself some money.

Final Thoughts

If you remember these tips, you should be able to negotiate the best deal possible on a used car. Just

Get Multiple Quotes

When you are ready to negotiate, it is a good idea to get multiple quotes from different car dealerships. This will help you see what different dealers and even private sellers are willing to offer and you can use this information to your advantage.

Be Prepared to Walk Away

If you don’t feel like the car price you’re getting is fair, don’t be afraid to walk away from the car lot. There are plenty of other cars out there, and you want to make sure that you’re happy with your purchase.

Never take what the car salespeople are saying as gospel. They are trying to make a sale, and they might not be entirely truthful about the car or the price. Always do your research so that you know what a fair price for the car is.

Schedule For A Test Drive

Before you finalize the deal, be sure to ask for a test drive. This will give you a chance to check that the car is in good condition and that it’s the right car for you. Don’t try one car, instead, test every car that you want if possible to see how well they perform.

Make sure to call the dealership ahead of time. This way, you can be sure that the car will be available when you arrive. If you don’t call ahead of time, there’s no guarantee that the car will be available when you get there.

Remember, a trial run is one of the best steps in your car buying process. This is a good time to ask any questions that you might have about the car. For example, you can ask about the vehicle history report or maintenance records.

Close The Deal

Once you’ve found the right car and you’re happy with the price, it’s time to close the deal. This usually involves signing a purchase agreement and paying for the car.

If you are using dealership financing, be sure to read over the loan agreement carefully before you sign it. This will ensure that you understand the terms of the car loan and are comfortable with them. If there is anything in the agreement that you don’t understand, be sure to ask the car dealership for clarification.

In Conclusion

When negotiating for car deal on either a new or used car, it is important to remember that you have the power. Never settle for the manufacturer’s suggested retail price set forth by the car dealership. With the right knowledge and preparation, you can get a great deal on your next car.

Use the tips in this article to help you negotiate the best possible price on your car buying journey. And always remember, if you don’t feel like you’re getting a good deal, walk away from the negotiating table. There you can get a better deal if you follow these tips.

Do you find this article helpful? Let us hear your thoughts by leaving a comment below!

About Marcus The Car Guy

I've been in car sales and finance for over 20 years, working at the highest volume dealerships in the nation including Fletcher Jones, DCH and more. Want to pick my brain on finding cars, negotiating cars, and structuring car deals?

Recent Posts

Follow Us

Weekly Tutorial



Leave a Reply

Get The Best Deal On Your Next Car