The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

Five Essential Tips When Negotiating With Used Car Dealers

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

With a quick search on the internet, it is possible to find all types of strategies and advice when it comes to negotiating with a car dealer. Some of it is good, solid advice while other information will cause issues with any type of deal that you want to make. You can follow any of the advice that has been given, but if you want the best experience that is the most productive then you must remember one main thing. Be yourself. Do not try to go into a deal by trying to be a bully, or by acting like you need to be catered to. Go in armed with knowledge, facts, and have set limits that you will not flex on.

    1. Knowledge - Before attempting to make any type of deal you need to make sure that you have done your homework. Once you know what type of vehicle you are interested in, do some research on it. Check Edmunds or Kelley Blue Book to find the value of it. Read about any major recalls that the specific vehicle has had over the years. Find a fact sheet and read through it, noting any specific details that could give you some leverage when making a deal. This will allow you to have the confidence to negotiate without being led astray by an experienced employee.

    2. Opening - Try to have the dealer make the opening offer. This does not mean the amount that is marked on the used cars. Let the person that you are dealing with understand that you know what you are talking about. Go into some basic details that you discovered while researching. For instance, if the dealer is listing the vehicle at an inflated price, mention what the average amounts are in the area. Investopedia highly recommends that you ask for any information related to warranties, and where repairs would be made when needed.

    If they will not open with a discounted offer than it is up to you to get the negotiations started. Take the amount that you have budgeted in and throw them a number that is lower, but not so low that it will insult the dealers’ representative. Remember that this is the starting point and the amount while go up from there.

    3. Counter - When playing the game keep in mind that you want the best deal for you, and they want the best deal for themselves. Making a deal requires throwing numbers back and forth until you both find a number that works for both parties involved. When countering, go up by small increments. Every time that you offer a different amount make the offer increase by smaller amounts. This will let the dealer know that you are coming closer to your top offer. Do not ever go over the amount that you have budgeted. Find out what the closing costs will be and factor them into the final counteroffer. If they will not cooperate with you then get up and walk out. It is very important to not get attached to a vehicle until the deal has been made.

    4. Verbal Deal - When an amount has been agreed upon it is a verbal agreement. They may try to add extras on to increase the amount in hidden ways, such as extended warranties, but stick with the basics and go with the amount that you both agreed upon.

    5. Paper Deal-The deal written on paper should match what you discussed. Do not let them add on any extras. Have the length of the terms set to the shortest amount of time that you can afford to prevent higher interest charges.

Negotiating with used dealers is as much of an art form as it is for the dealers themselves. Your final agenda is different from theirs, but the result should be a deal that you both can live with.