How to Negotiate a Better Price for a New or Used Vehicle

How to Negotiate a Better Price for a New or Used Vehicle
  • Opening Intro -

    Shopping for a vehicle can be an exercise in patience.

    Whether you’re buying a new car or a used car, you have to be prepared to deal with salespeople, and all the buying process entails.


You’ll have to deal with sales pitches and tactics, and you’ll have to know how to get the best deal possible on the vehicle. Whether you’re considering a pre-owned car or opting for a brand new model, there are several things you can do to help negotiate a better deal for yourself.

1. Remember That It’s All Negotiable – Many people hit the dealership thinking that the price on the car is set in stone. It’s not. Everything at a dealership is negotiable, down to the penny in many instances. Remember this and use it to your advantage. If you immediately assume that the sticker price on the window is what you’ll have to pay, you could be tossing thousands of dollars down the drain just because you didn’t realize you could haggle. Haggling is expected, so take advantage of it.

2. Ask for Extras – One way that you can negotiate a better deal for yourself is to ask for extras to be included in the price. For instance, you might be able to get upgraded auto mats at no cost to you. You might be able to have the interior carpets stain treated, or get the salesperson to agree to include a service plan for the first year at no additional costs. All of these offer value to you, but don’t take anything out of your pocket.

3. Shop Around and Quote Prices – You should never take the price for a particular make and model vehicle at one dealership as given for all dealerships. Shop around. Take the time needed to hit other dealerships in your area and find out what the car you want is going for at other locations. Then, you can use that information as ammunition in your negotiations. Many dealerships are willing to price-match other dealers, so come to the bargaining table armed with the right information.

4. Don’t Act Too Interested – One of the worst things you can do is let a salesperson know that you’re dying to have a particular vehicle. If they know you really, really want that car, they have the upper hand in negotiations. Show interest in several different vehicles and don’t act over-interested in any of them. Take the time to inspect and test drive multiple vehicles as well. This helps you maintain your advantage – if you don’t seem desperate, the salesperson will be more willing to come down on the price for the car that you do want.

5. Prepare Your Own Financing – You might think that going with dealer financing is the best option. While it’s certainly convenient, chances are good that you’ll get a better deal from a different lender. Check with your bank or credit union to find out if you qualify for an auto loan through them. This also helps you save money in dealer fees. Many dealerships tack on extra charges with in-house financing plans, meaning that you pay more for the car, as well as paying more in interest fees and other charges.

6. Walk Away – Finally, you can often negotiate a better price for a new or used vehicle by being prepared to walk away from the deal. This tells the dealer that you’re not desperate, and puts the ball in your court. If you have to, do walk away from the deal for a day or so. It’s your money, and there’s no reason why a dealership should get the better of you.

Don Elfrink is the owner and operator of AutoMatStore, an auto flooring company based out of Columbia, Missouri. Before AutoMatStore, Elfrink was the operator of a automotive production site. AutoMatStore focuses on all-weather, logo, carpeted and molded car mats.


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