how to negotiate the best car deal
FREE Car History Check
See MOT history, valuations, detailed specs and more… AND upgrade to see if any vehicle has been stolen, has finance or has been written off from just £3.99
Whether seeking new or used car, there is often a deal to be had. Staff at dealerships are trained to sell and will know the tricks but as long as you keep a cool head and remember some basic rules, you will be in a stronger position. With this in mind, we have compiled our top tips for negotiating your way to a good deal. The important outcome is that the customer is both happy with the vehicle and ultimately pays a fair price.
Do your research
Once you know the model and specification of the car you wish to buy, it is important to understand what you should be paying. Check out prices of similar cars elsewhere and use industry vehicle value guides such as My Car Check. This shouldn’t stop you being open to considering new offers or finance products once through the door but will allow you to judge if they make financial sense.
This research also extends to the specific car you are looking at. Many garages conduct their own checks on used cars but for your peace of mind, My Car Check will advise whether or not the vehicle has a shady past, with outstanding finance for example.
Keep your eye on the ball
You have set your heart on a specific model and engine choice. But if the dealer has a similar car to sell, they might put pressure on you to pick that model. Perhaps that will be okay but have you checked if it is fair price? Is it a less desirable model the dealer can’t shift and one which will then be harder for you to sell when the time comes? Perhaps the car is less fuel efficient than the one you considered and so will cost you more to run.
Remember your manners.
It is a negotiation and courtesy always plays its part. Just as the salesperson will aim to put you at ease, if you come over as a pleasant person, they are more likely to work with you to reach an acceptable deal. And if you are not happy with the car or the deal, politely say so.
Don't show your hand
If the dealer knows how much you want to spend, they’ll want to try to take as much of it as possible. And if the dealer knows the exact model variant you fancy, it will be easier for them to hold you to its price. Suggesting a car isn’t quite what you were looking for will make the salesman have to work harder on the price to add to its appeal.
Even if the first figure looks good, don’t be afraid to negotiate further. And when a dealer has gone as far as possible on price, an extra service, extended warranty, breakdown cover or even a full tank of fuel is still a bonus. And don’t be afraid to be persistent with more than one dealer; each should work hard for that sale.
Don’t be afraid to walk away.
It’s an old trick: give a potential customer a scalding hot drink from a vending machine and they are likely to stay until it is cool enough to drink (and be forced to hear the salesperson’s patter). If you are unsure about the product, a particular finance deal or the dealership itself, simply walk away. It is easy to check specifications or prices in your own home and come back if still interested. And if there isn’t much movement on price but the salesperson really wants to close the deal, they can always come back with a better offer on the phone. Remember, there are many options for both new and used cars, so don’t feel trapped because you believe you have found ‘the one’.