Negotiating for a Used Car

Written by: Christy Rakoczy

Buying a used car can be a very affordable way to get yourself a reliable and nice vehicle with lots of upgrades and options. However, the used car market is full of aggressive salesmen who want to make a big commission on selling you a vehicle. To ensure that you actually get a good ideal and end up with a reliable vehicle you are happy with, you need to be smart about how you negotiate your used car purchase.

Tips for Negotiating for a Used Car

When negotiating for a used car, there are a few basic tips that can help you to get the best deal:

  • Arm yourself with information. You can use the Internet to find out what similar cars are going for in your area and what you should expect to pay for a car given its mileage and the features that the vehicle has.   This will allow you to be better informed about whether the car dealer is giving you a fair price or not.
  • Be prepared to walk away. If you fall in love with a particular used car, you may let your emotions get the better of you and wind up paying more than you should for a vehicle. If a car costs more than it should based on your online research, you need to be prepared to walk away from the deal. If it is meant to be, the dealer will come back to you with a more reasonable price or you will find another car that is right for you.
  • Have a clear idea of what you are willing to pay. Before you go to the dealership, you should have a bottom-line number that represents what you absolutely do not want to exceed in terms of cost.  If the car costs more than that, it is not the right deal for you.
  • Focus on the total cost as well as on any financing charges and fees. Many dealers will try to obscure the total cost of the car by focusing on monthly payments or will try to make up their profits on the financing deal. You need to understand exactly what the financing terms are if you are not buying the car outright and you also need to know and understand exactly what the car will end up costing you.  You can even consider arranging financing ahead of time, which may save you money on interest costs and also help you to avoid paying a premium for dealer financing.
  • Understand the warranty and what you are getting. Certified pre-owned vehicles for example, generally have a higher cost but have a warranty and have been inspected by the dealer or manufacturer. When comparing cars and checking out prices, you need to ensure that you compare apples-to-apples by knowing exactly what you get with each vehicle.

By keeping these tips in mind, you should be able to negotiate a great deal on a used car and you should hopefully end up with a vehicle that you got for a reasonable price and that you are happy to drive.


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Negotiating for a Used Car

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