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

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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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Attila

18 years of experience
573 reviews
Attila
18 years of experience
Volvo XC90 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Passaic, New Jersey
Excellent, knowledgeable, hands-on, and experienced mechanic. Polite, helpful, focused and answers any questions. Examines everything thoroughly and explains what he is doing and offers immediate insight. Great energy, hard-working and provides great support for pre-purchase inspection. I'm a professor and do my own research but wanted the added confidence of a good mechanic who could see and inspect every detail that mattered. This is the guy I want to be working with as far as cars are concerned. I'll be hiring him to do all my inspections, until I get my car. Then I'll hire him as the mechanic for my car. Then I'll repeat when its time for my daughter's car etc. When he found a problem, he showed me, and explained, and then had me test it out. Then he would show me the variations. At the same time, he was efficient. He did his job well and moved from task to task, and didn't linger over random discussion, and conscientiously moved from one inspection to the next in a timely manner. He was looking for everything that might be wrong and made a good remark when something was right and showed me what he meant. When we went for a test-drive he felt out the entire set of behaviors that should matter to a person interested in a good engine, in good performance, and in safety. At the end of the day, people who love their work do it extremely well. I would say Atilla represents that kind of person and he was a pleasure to work with.
Volvo XC70 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Plainfield, New Jersey
Attila was very throughrout with the inspection of the car and confirmed my suspicions about the breaks

Michael

15 years of experience
554 reviews
Michael
15 years of experience
Honda Odyssey - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Decatur, Georgia
Wonderful experience with Mike! He was punctual, thorough, and professional. Would definitely choose to work with him again!
Lincoln Mark V - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Alpharetta, Georgia
Mike was very professional . His inspection was detailed and to the point. I avoided a major headache. Thank You!

William

18 years of experience
45 reviews
William
18 years of experience
Toyota Tacoma - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Scottsdale, Arizona
Very detailed, honest and knowledgeable mechanic. Saved me from buying a lemon. Will be returning to Your Mechanic to hire William in the future.
Infiniti FX35 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Tempe, Arizona
William was excellent and really helpful as we were buying from away. We highly recommend him. Thanks

Jason

14 years of experience
130 reviews
Jason
14 years of experience
Toyota Corolla - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Jamaica, New York
I recommend Jason. I know little about cars and needed him to check out a car for me. Jason did a pre purchase car inspection for me. He explained what looked good and what looked to be of concern about the car. If it was a concern, he explained what needed to be done to get the car in good shape before the purchase. He had all the equipment to check out the car. I would book him again for any other services as he knows what he's doing and is friendly.
Kia Rio - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Brooklyn, New York
Jason did a thorough job inspecting a car I was considering buying and answered all my questions after the inspection

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