How to Haggle when Buying a Car

Car Sales USA

Buying and running a car can be expensive, but you don’t necessarily have to lower your idea of what car you want or overstretch your budget.

Many car buyers make the mistake of thinking that the asking price is the only price, but actually it is possible to haggle on price and negotiate a discount. Research towards the end of last year showed that on average in the UK men saved around £1000 while women saved around £700, and comparable savings are definitely possible in America.

Independent Sellers:

If you are buying your car through a private deal – ie the owner is selling it by advertising it themselves, perhaps on a website or just locally – you are in a good position to get the price down. The seller will be asking for the price that they want, not necessarily a price which is fair and competitive.

  • Set yourself a budget before you start your car search, based on what you have saved up and what you can realistically afford. Remember that the car will need to be insured and taxed and filled with gas.
  • When you have found the car you want, do some research. Look at similar cars for sale in your region and the prices being asked and find some examples that might be better bargains. Take these with you when you go to view the car and use them as ammunition – this can particularly help you if you’re unconfident at haggling as it will give you something concrete to base your negotiations on.
  • If you cannot find any cheaper examples don’t worry. Firstly, read up on checks to carry out when you’re buying a used car so that you can do a quick inspection when you go and view it – any little problems you notice can help you to negotiate a lower price.
  • Pick a maximum price that you will pay and a low price that you would like to pay. Start by offering the lowest price and you have room to negotiate higher. However, don’t let the seller get you to change your price too many times. Name the first price, name the second and then say you won’t go higher than that, this way you’ll stay in control. Stay firm, stay very calm and professional and friendly and just be matter of fact and confident about it. Tell them you will drive away today for that price if you can.


Dealerships might seem more intimidating than private sellers but don’t be put off, haggling is possible.

  • Just like with a private seller, set your budget and be calm and firm.
  • Be friendly and professional with the sales staff – they are much less likely to agree to a discount if they don’t like you.
  • Visit the dealership towards the end of the month or quarter. They will have targets to hit and will be more likely to drop the price in order to sneak in that extra sale.
  • Remember that when they say they have to check with the manager, they really do have to check with the manager. Car dealerships would never make profit if salespeople had the authority to offer discounts whenever they want.
  • Bonus tip – Dealerships will try and sell you car finance. Going to a broker before you go and arranging finance with an independent provider is likely to give you a better deal.

Article written by

Kat is a blogger who writes regularly about personal finance, cars and lifestyle. She is passionate about helping people save money and find good deals. She writes for Car Loan 4U at

Leave a Reply