Negotiating For A Used Car With Confidence

Stack of Fifty Dollar Bills ca. 1998

Customers who educate themselves about cars, specifically a vehicle they wish to purchase, are more successful during negotiations with used car salesmen. These professionals are gifted in cajoling, persuading, and sweet-talking consumers into purchases they didn’t mean to make, weren’t ready for, or at prices that are too high. Their job is to sell, after all, and their livelihoods depend on being better at negotiating than you are. Here are some tips to help you avoid such a pit fall when you approach your next purchase of a used car.

Prepare Yourself in Advance

Knowledge can indeed protect you from being ripped-off at the car lot. Do your research; learn as much about the car you want to buy as you can. For instance, learn details of the make and model keeping the year of the model in mind. Most cars go through slight changes every few years but features will remain consistent over a period of time. You will wind up with inside knowledge about some of the potential breakdown issues that arise with this make and hassles customers have reported. If these don’t put you off the model entirely, use these facts as leverage to lower the price or obtain a service agreement above and beyond the norm.

Know the Value

Don’t be talked into believing the value of your car is 20% more than it really is. The True Market Value (TMV) of your vehicle is accessible: learn this figure. Factor in any extras which the vehicle in question might include (satellite navigation, Bluetooth, heated seats) to be sure the dealer can’t say “ah, but this car features GPS: the one in the book doesn’t.” You will wind up with a price range between the basic model and its most luxurious incarnation minus depreciation.

Complicated Talk

Do not let the car salesman confuse you with technical talk. Either study car-sales lingo so you can engage fully and take him by surprise or insist on his cutting the jargon and laying out the details in English.

Be Willing to Haggle

Car salesmen know how to haggle and they expect it. They don’t reveal all their cards right away but hold some back in case you cave in before they do. Ultimately, they are still going to make a profit: that’s only fair. At the same time, you are within your rights to start as low as possible. Your bid should begin low while his will be high, but anticipate meeting somewhere in the middle. If he can’t do that, be ready to take your business somewhere else.

Items to consider for haggling include a trade-in from you and extras from the dealership. They might include winter tires, seat covers, or some free service for a year that is not generally included in the price.