Top 5 Tips for Negotiating a Better Price on a Used Car

Buying a used car can feel like a very intimidating process. You want to make sure that you get the best value for your money, and that you end up with a car that’s going to last you for the next several years. The key to getting the best value is to do your research, and use that information to negotiate a better price on the used car.

Tips to help you navigate your negotiation

  1. When the dealer asks how much you’re willing to pay, give an overall price. Most used car loans are 36 months long, so if you’re looking for a particular payment of, say $300 a month, multiply that by 36 ($10,800), and then subtract ten percent ($1080) to cover the taxes and other associated fees that will come with your purchase. Add that amount ($9720) to the amount of the down payment you’re willing to make to get your final overall price.

  2. Become familiar with the Kelley Blue Book. The Kelley Blue book will give you the approximate value of the vehicle you have in mind, minus any modifications that may have been done. You can look up the make and model of the vehicle you’re considering using their research tools, and print out the information to bring to the dealership with you. Their app even allows you to pull up specs and reviews on your smartphone, right from the dealership.

  3. If you have a trade-in, know its value, too. Again, the Kelley Blue Book is your friend. Bring all of your maintenance records with you. That will help them to determine how well the vehicle was taken care of, which can increase the trade-in value. Maintenance records will also show the value of any modifications, and if they were previously installed, they may also increase the value of your trade-in.

  4. You may be able to negotiate the price of an extended warranty or any work that the dealership agrees to do based on the maintenance records of the vehicle. If the vehicle has been well maintained, the price of that extended warranty should be cheaper.

  5. Get a pre-purchase inspection by a third party mechanic. A dealership should have licensed mechanics on staff, but their ultimate goal is to sell you the vehicle. A pre-purchase inspection not only insures that what the dealership is telling you is truthful, but can give you the true value of any aftermarket modifications. YourMechanic offers pre-purchase inspections to help you make a well informed purchase.

When you go to the dealership with a researched vehicle choice, well armed with the knowledge of knowing what you want and need, and prepared to book a pre-purchase inspection, you should be able to negotiate a price on a used vehicle that is easy on your wallet.


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4,531
175
36
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78

Michael

21 years of experience
159 reviews
Michael
21 years of experience
Ford Transit Connect - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Pomona, California
Very prompt, knowledgeable, honest and super thorough. I had a pre-purchase vehicle inspection at a car lot. Michael's detailed attention helped me bargain the price down significantly, more than enough to cover the cost of his services. I'm super satisfied!!!!
Jeep Wrangler - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Norco, California
I hired Michael through YourMechanic to perform a pre-purchase inspection on a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon before I pulled the trigger and purchased it from a used car dealership. I am SO glad that I did--Michael was able to not only immediately identify that the Wrangler was NOT a Rubicon as advertised (he identified Dana 30 lockers instead of standard Dana 44s) but also that it had a host of other electrical and mechanical issues. He was prompt, professional, and saved me from what was bound to be a nightmare. Glad to be out $100 rather than the cost of a Jeep that was misadvertised, and grateful to have a Jeep expert have my back.

Peter

25 years of experience
437 reviews
Peter
25 years of experience
BMW 320i - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Reseda, California
Peter was flexible and provided me an inspection report within less than an hour of completion. Would highly recommend him for pre purchase inspections!
Volvo XC60 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Sherman Oaks, California
Peter was extremely helpful and available for any questions I had. He is very knowledgable and I would highly recommend him for any services. I used his services for a pre-car inspection and am very satisfied with the results. Would use again. Thank You.

John

27 years of experience
808 reviews
John
27 years of experience
Honda Element - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Webster, Texas
John completed a pre-purchase car inspection for me. I was feeling a bit nervous about purchasing a car from out of state, but after seeing John's inspection notes and then talking with him over the phone about the few issues he found, I feel confident in his knowledge, honesty, and professionalism, and I feel very comfortable about my upcoming purchase.
GMC Yukon - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Webster, Texas
John performed a pre-purchase inspection for me and was great to work with. He is punctual, communicates really well and overall made the experience very easy for me. If I lived local he would be my regular mechanic.

David

13 years of experience
339 reviews
David
13 years of experience
Toyota Camry - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Marietta, Georgia
Great experience. Saved me from buying a car with fairly significant issues which were not disclosed. Well worth it!
Nissan 370Z - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Marietta, Georgia
We had a great experience with David on a pre-purchase inspection. He was very thorough, detailed, and knowledgeable. Definitely would recommend him and book him again.

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