Top tips for negotiating used car prices with used car dealers - by used car dealers – Car Dealer Magazine (2023)

Everyone loves a deal on used cars. Car buyers want to make sure they’re getting the best deal, while car dealers will always be happy to negotiate.

However, when you’re haggling on the price of a used car, or any car for that matter, there are certain ways to go about it.

Here, we’ve asked members of the Car Dealer Magazine Forum for the advice they’d give customers before they stepped into their showrooms.

It’s handy to know what a car dealer would say to you before you walked into their dealership and here we’ve shared their top tips to help you get the best price for your next used car.

Be honest with used car dealers

‘Just be honest,’ said forum user and used car dealer Casper. ‘There is nothing worse than a customer trying to make up faults to get money off the car they’re looking at.’

Dealers will prefer you’re honest about how much you’ve got to spend on the car you’re looking to buy instead of making up excuses as to why you think it’s worth less.

‘If someones comes in and says the £3,000 car I’m selling is only worth £2,600 because their friend said it is, then I’d be like “it’s £3,000”,’ said Casper.

‘However, if someone came in and told me they liked the car, but could only afford £2,600 I’d work with them to see what I could do.’

(Video) Mike Brewer's How To Get A Good Deal On A Used Car

Pick up the phone and speak to the dealer

Forum member Highline8 recommends the best way to get a decent used car price is to pick up the phone rather than email.

He said: ‘Pick up the phone, speak to my salesmen and make a genuine enquiry. I tend to ignore long email enquiries as experience has proved most of them to be time wasters.’

He also agreed with Casper that you need to be realistic on budget.

‘Don’t be a dreamer,’ said BHM. ‘If I have a car advertised at £8,995 and you only have £8,500 to spend then, depending on days in stock and general stock profile of the business at the time, we should be able to do something.

‘If you are ringing around thinking you’ll get £1,000 off a car you are wasting your time and ours.’

Deal with an experienced pro

‘Car sales guys usually get a hard time,’ explains forum user Trade Vet. ‘Don’t deal with an order taker, but go for an experienced pro instead.’

He also suggests if you’re ‘pleasant and straightforward’ about your needs and you like the service you get, go back again in the future.

Trade Vet adds: ‘If you are happy with the service, it makes sense to stay loyal to the same dealer especially if the same sales guy remains. They will be pleased to see you and will do favours if you need them.’

(Video) Used car prices: What's happening in car dealerships?

Don’t make up faults

Used car dealers are more than up for a deal on the cars they are selling, but don’t try and pull the wool over their eyes by making up faults, says forum users Have A Word With The Wife.

‘Be ready to do business, say that you are ready to do business, you will be asked,’ he says. ‘Do not waste people’s time, be confident and calm, and friendly – and do not make faults up.

‘It must be kept friendly, but not over friendly so keep it business-like. Do not let whoever came with you look bored and just ready to pay sticker price – I can suss these out!

Do not make the first offer

Have A Word With The Wife also says you should wait for the dealer to offer you the first price before starting to negotiate.

He said: ‘Explain how you can make the sale today, explain that you understand it is a business and that they have overheads and introduce lightly why you want or need this discount – do not make the first offer.

‘The final price from the dealer is your starting point. If you can not get this lower there maybe discount on another item the seller offers, so find out first.’

But cheekily, our used car dealer adds: ‘But do not do any of this – just pay full price.’ He is, of course, joking.

Treat used car dealers with respect

There’s a common misconception that dealers are ‘out to get’ customers and starting off with that in mind will set the deal up to fail.

(Video) How to accurately price your used car for sale

User Catalyst Auto says he has one simple piece of advice: ‘Treat everyone how you would expect to be treated.’

While forum member Noacross adds: ‘Biggest one for me is BE NICE. Nice, normal, polite people get much further with us (buying or even when a car has issues).

‘A buyer is as much selected by us, the seller, as them selecting our car. If they don’t pass the test, they won’t get anywhere and we don’t have to sell to them as much as they don’t have to buy from us.’

Cash is not king – this is not 1976…

Car dealers hate cash. Offering a dealer cash will absolutely not get you a better deal. Every one of the used car dealers we spoke to for this feature said rather than give you a better deal for cash they’d be more inclined to avoid it.

Used car dealer Noacross said: ‘Cash is not a help to us, neither is no PX or no finance deal, so it won’t secure a better deal.’

Why do they hate it? Car dealers have to make checks as to where money comes from and provide an audit trail. What’s more, most banks these days charge business customers to deposit cash.

Prepare your part exchange

Every used car buyer wants a good deal on their part exchange, but few will put in the legwork to get it ready for sale. Just as you would if you were selling it privately make sure you present it in the best possible light to the car dealer.

Car Dealer Magazine forum user Awc1000 said: ‘When it comes to part exes, bring everything you have for the car on first viewing – not handover. Spare keys, service history, bills etc – show me the stuff so that I can try and show you more money.’

Used car dealer Casper adds: ‘And leave the px as is when it actually comes in if you’re keeping the stereo and leaving a hole in the dash – tell us – and if you’re putting the alloys back to steel wheels, tell us.’

(Video) Used car prices dipped in August

Don’t bring your mechanic mate with you

Nothing gets a car dealer’s back up like a mechanic friend who insists everything is wrong with the car when it isn’t.

One of the Car Dealer forum users described these as ‘Snap Ons’, referring to the trade tool branded clothing they often wear.

Used car dealer MrC said: ‘Saying “I used to be an engineer” means an extra £200 on the price.’

While used car dealer David Horgan adds: ‘Don’t bring your carpet and torch – it makes you look stupid.’

Golden top tips

There are some general rules to follow, says Car Dealer forum user Jimmy Glen, when visiting a used car dealer that he believes everyone should follow.

‘Don’t always expect us to round your new car payment down to the nearest hundred pounds,’ he said.

‘The part exchange car isn’t worth what’s owed to the finance company. Your negative equity isn’t our problem – we aren’t here to pay your shortfall.

‘And always be decent. You wouldn’t be any other way if you went to a nice restaurant – why treat us any differently? Not all car dealers are the same.’

Used car prices could drop seven per cent in next 12 months and it may take three years to get back to normal

(Video) How To Talk To A Car Salesman: Tactics and Questions for a Car Dealership

The used car prices that have risen the most during lockdown, according to pricing experts

Are used car prices going down? What is happening to used car prices? Is now a good time to buy a used car?

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Is it possible to negotiate the price on a used car at a dealership? ›

Negotiating the price of a used car at a dealer should depend on the car's condition, market value, and how much you're willing to pay. Negotiating a used car price begins with your first impression, so strike a balance between friendly and confident.

How much is reasonable to negotiate on a used car? ›

Based on your pricing homework, you should have a good idea of how much you're willing to pay. Begin by making an offer that is realistic but 15 to 25 percent lower than this figure. Name your offer and wait until the person you're negotiating with responds.

What strategies are most effective when haggling for a car? ›

5 tips for negotiating a car price
  • Do your research. Knowledge puts you in a better position to negotiate the price of a car. ...
  • Keep your options open. ...
  • Get preapproved. ...
  • Focus on out-the-door price. ...
  • Be willing to walk away.
Jun 16, 2022

What gives you the greatest advantage when negotiating a car purchase? ›

Aim to get as near as possible to the invoice price. Dealers often get incentives that lower the invoice cost for them further. Negotiating based on invoice price leaves you quite a bit of money to save on the MSRP, and still a bit of room for the dealer to make a few dollars.

What are some good ways to get a bargain? ›

How to Haggle in 10 Easy Steps
  1. Always tell the truth. Keep your character intact, people. ...
  2. Time it right. The end of the day is a great time to get your haggle on. ...
  3. Ask for a discount. ...
  4. Use the power of cash. ...
  5. Use your walk-away power. ...
  6. Know when to be quiet. ...
  7. Say, “That's not good enough.” ...
  8. Let them know your budget.
Oct 26, 2022

How do you ask for a lower price? ›

Top eight phrases to use when negotiating a lower price
  1. All I have in my budget is X.
  2. What would your cash price be?
  3. How far can you come down in price to meet me?
  4. What? or Wow.
  5. Is that the best you can do?
  6. Ill give you X if we can close the deal now.
  7. Ill agree to this price if you.
  8. Your competitor offers.
Jun 15, 2022

What should you not say to a car salesman? ›

Things to Never Say to a Dealer
  • “I'm ready to buy now.” ...
  • “I can afford this much per month.” ...
  • “Yes, I have a trade-in.” ...
  • “I'm only buying the car with cash.” ...
  • “I'm not sure…which model do you think I need?” ...
  • “Oh, I've wanted one of these all my life.” ...
  • “I'll take whatever the popular options are.”

What is a lowball offer on a car? ›

A lowball offer is a slang term for an offer that is significantly below the seller's asking price, or a quote that is deliberately lower than the price the seller intends to charge. To lowball also means to deliberately give a false estimate for something.

How do you talk down a car salesman? ›

Make a Reasonable Offer and Stick to It

Tell them that if they can hit that figure, you're ready to sign on the dotted line. Be sure to let them know that you're not budging. Be polite, but firm. If the dealer makes an offer first, use this same tactic with your counter-offer.

What are 3 tips you should remember when negotiating for a car? ›

Tips on how to negotiate the price on a used car
  • Don't buy a car in a hurry (unless you have no choice). ...
  • Check all the numbers and ask for the out-the-door price.
  • Read online reviews of the dealership before you begin negotiating. ...
  • Plan to spend a chunk of time at the dealership.
Aug 29, 2022

What do you say to a car dealer? ›

After that, here are 10 things you can say to get your deal moving quickly and flowing smoothly:
  • "I plan to get my new car this weekend." ...
  • "I'm calling to confirm my test-drive appointment this evening." ...
  • "I have a trade-in, and I'd like to have it appraised as soon as possible."
Jan 8, 2016

What are three helpful tips for buying a good car at a fair price? ›

  • 1) Know Your Budget.
  • 2) Find the Right Vehicle.
  • 3) Learn the Language.
  • 4) Know the Car-Buying Process.
  • 5) Buy a Car Before You Need a Car.
  • 6) Don't Buy Too Soon.
  • 7) Know Your Credit Score.
  • 8) Get a Preapproved Loan.
Mar 6, 2019

What is the most important skill required for negotiating the best price? ›

1. Communication. To achieve your ideal outcome at the bargaining table, it's essential to clearly communicate what you're hoping to walk away with and where your boundaries lie. Effective communication skills allow you to engage in a civil discussion with other negotiators and work toward an agreeable solution.

What perks to ask for when buying a used car? ›

2 Extras to Get When Buying a Car
  • Extended Warranties. Perhaps the most popular add on when purchasing a car is an extended warranty. ...
  • Gap Insurances. ...
  • Chrome Rims and Trim. ...
  • Window Etching. ...
  • Paint and Fabric Protection. ...
  • Rust Proofing. ...
  • Key Protection. ...
  • Nitrogen for Your Tires.
Aug 17, 2022

How much will a dealer reduce price used car? ›

Most car dealers will ultimately be willing to knock at least five percent off the asking price.

How do you negotiate with a pre owned car dealership? ›

Here are useful tips which help you negotiate when buying old cars.
How To Negotiate To Buy A Used Car For Good Price?
  1. Be friendly. ...
  2. Research the price in advance. ...
  3. Give a vivid description of your desired car. ...
  4. Request to view invoice. ...
  5. Pay as low as possible and increase gradually. ...
  6. Communicate effectively.
Oct 13, 2018

How much profit should a dealer make on a used car? ›

Average profit per new or used car

On average, how much do dealers make on used cars? The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) reports that the average gross profit for a used car is $2,337. That same data set puts the average gross profit for new cars at $1,959.

What is typical dealer markup on used car? ›

Markup is usually the difference between what a dealer paid for a used car and the amount they sell it. On average, markup ranges from around 10% to 35%. The percentage may sometimes include processing and repair costs.

What day of the week is best to buy a car? ›

Three of the best times to buy a car
  • Mondays. Monday can be the best day of the week to buy a new car. ...
  • End of the year, month and model year. In terms of the best time of the year, October, November and December are safe bets. ...
  • Holidays. Holiday sales can also offer deep discounts.
Mar 2, 2023

How do you make an offer on a used car from a dealer? ›

  1. Get the numbers: Look up the car's current market value.
  2. Make the right opening offer: Keep your offer low, but realistic.
  3. Make a counteroffer: Sweeten the deal, but not too much.
  4. Getting to “yes”: Review the numbers and all the terms before you shake hands.
Jun 28, 2019

How much over dealer cost should I pay? ›

You should expect to pay no more than 5% above the invoice price. If you do, you shouldn't take the deal and go elsewhere. Car dealers may say they make only 12% on the invoice price from the MSRP, but with the incentives, that number is doubled usually.

Are certified pre owned prices negotiable? ›

You can — and should — negotiate on CPO vehicles, just like you'd negotiate on any new or non-certified used car. As with any negotiations, we recommend fixating on the out-the-door price of the car, including all taxes and fees.


1. How to haggle with a car dealer | Wheeler Dealers star Mike Brewer
(Car Dealer Magazine)
2. Car Dealer Live 36: Talking used car prices with the experts from Cazana
(Car Dealer Magazine)
3. No time to panic on used car prices
(Car Dealer Magazine)
4. How much profit do car dealers make on a car sales?
(Car Dealer Magazine)
5. What is the latest with used car prices?
(Car Dealer Magazine)
6. Used car prices rise by as much as 25 per cent in June
(Car Dealer Magazine)
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