How to Negotiate Used Car Price With Dealer?

How to negotiate used car price with dealer

Buying a car is a huge decision as it can become a big commitment. As most people buy cars with outside financing, buying a car means carrying the weight of the loan and interest for the near future. Instead of new cars, most car buyers tend to prefer used cars for various reasons. Because of this, negotiating the price can save a lot of money when buying a used car. Knowing how to properly negotiate the used car price with a dealer is very important.

Many people lack the proper skills of successfully negotiating as they only focus on lowering the payment. But a lot more tricks and strategies come into play when making a deal to buy cars. To get the best price, knowing how and when to press the dealer about the price of the car is a great skill.

Reasons Why Used Car Prices Can Vary

A used car’s price can be lowered quite easily if you know about cars and approach the negotiation process carefully. The market value for a used car mainly varies because of the condition the car is in. To detect the current market value of a new or used car, you need to know the make, model, year, accident history, mileage, etc.

A used car that is relatively new tends to be more expensive. These are repaired and given a new look before putting up for sale. The dealership sets the price depending on the repair costs, acquired costs, shop rent, sales tax, etc, making the car deal fall through. For this reason, negotiating prices and offers are important. Sometimes, when the demand for a certain car model is high, the dealers can increase the price. And when the sale is relatively low, they tend to offer deals and offers.

How Does a Negotiation Process Work?

Many people might think that the negotiation process is only there to drive down the price of the car. Though a lower price is the main aspect, other things like delivery, post-purchase services, add-ons, and extra facilities- all these things are also negotiated when the buyer tries to buy a used car. The main objective behind all the haggling is for the buyer to get the best service off of the car with the least cost spent.

The negotiation process takes place between the buyer and the car salesperson. The sales manager and salesperson try to make a car sale at a higher price, and the buyer tries to use tactics like deals and offers to drive the price down. Especially if the buyer is paying cash instead of financing the car from the dealers, the dealers tend not to reduce the price as they won’t be getting any money from interest payments.

Check the car thoroughly before buying

How to Negotiate a Car’s Price

Different car dealerships might quote different prices for the same car. This is a very common way of doing business in the used car market. Also, there is the fact that dealers normally buy used cars from individual sellers who were the previous owners. So setting the price for a used car is quite subjective. For this reason, knowing the proper way of negotiating is very important.

Know What You Can Negotiate and What You Cannot

You would be surprised to know that there is a long list of things you can negotiate when buying a car. Used car prices are almost always open for some haggling. In contrast, new car dealers have a manufacturer-suggested retail price or sticker price. This price can be different based on the demand for a certain car. You can definitely negotiate this price, along with the price of any added items and the monthly payment in case of financing. But you can never haggle with tax and registration fees.

Know the Basic Facts About the Fair Price

To make a car purchase is a skill indeed. But more than that, you need to understand the basic ideas of determining the worth of a car. If you know the fair price of a particular vehicle, only then you can successfully question the dealerships about the price of the quote. This will also save both your and the dealer’s precious time.

Make a Good Opening Offer

After you get to know the price they are quoting for the car you want to buy, the first step is to make a good opening offer. This offer will let them know how well you know your cars. Most of the time, private sellers will try to put the maximum price for the car. But you have to calculate the car’s worth by comparing its condition with a new car of the same model.

Make a Counter Offer

After you make the opening offer, they can meet you in the middle, or they can keep their main number. This will let you understand where they stand. Observing their reaction, you have to make a counteroffer. This will depend on your budget, the car’s value to you, and how much you are willing to pay for the car. It should show your determination to the dealers.

Use Any Available Deals

Timing your shop visit well can also be a great help in lowering the price of a used car. Many dealers provide deals and offer year-round. But sometimes, there are some special deals available when there is a lack of demand for a certain model of car. If you use these deals to your advantage, the cost of buying a car can be significantly lowered.

Read the contract carefully before signing

Read the Fine Print

Finally, let’s say you come to a conclusion. When you agree on a price with the sales manager, you will be given some documents to fill out to complete the purchase process. You must read through the whole contract carefully to check if all the things you have negotiated for are included there or not. Normally dealers do not try to scam their customers, but it is best to be cautious.

Some Things You Must Keep in Mind

In the used car market, negotiating goes hand in hand with buying a car. If you do your research and follow the tips mentioned above, you will find that you have a chance to drive the cost of the car down by quite a bit. Still, there are a few more things you must keep in mind. As the transaction should be as humane and respectful as possible, these are some values you must keep.

  • Never forget that it is a business transaction.The buyer will want to buy the car of choice at the lowest price possible. And the seller will try to make a good profit. They cannot sell the car to you at a loss. Remember that this is a business, and you cannot make irrational demands to lower the price.
  • Secure stable financing offers before starting the shopping process.Before you go shopping and start negotiating, make sure you have the full financing documents. Otherwise, it can become very embarrassing very fast if you haggle with the rice but, in the end, have no means to actually buy the car. You can also receive financing facilities from most dealers.
  • Find the dealership best suitable for you.There are a lot of dealers who sell good quality used vehicles. Choose one that works for you. You must focus on what type of vehicle you want to buy when making a choice. Some dealers have a no-haggling rule, so you should not negotiate the price with them.
  • Consider multiple dealerships to compare offers.Instead of just focusing on one dealership, spread out and contact several sellers to better understand the market. This research can be done through online websites that sell used cars and give you an instant quote.
  • Be ready not to take the deal.You should keep in mind that you might not come to an agreement with the dealers. In that case, it is better to walk away instead of going over your budget. You can try to shop on another day with better deals and offers.

Make a happy transaction


The sale of used cars is increasing day by day in the US. Because of this, negotiating can be a great skill to possess. The car buying process is complex, regardless of all the documents and certificates. If you want to drive the price of the car you want to buy to the least amount, you must try to find ways to negotiate. This can be to reduce the car price, or it can be to get better services.

Like all skills, negotiating is all about patience, cunning, and observation. If you can pay attention to the dealers, see where they are coming from, and then make offers and counteroffers respectfully, the transaction process will go smoothly while you get a great deal with the car! All you have to do is follow some basic strategies and gain some knowledge about car prices before going to the shop.

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