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10 Tips for Haggling Over a Used Car


Before you grab those car keys ask yourself if you're getting the whip for the best price imaginable.
Before you grab those car keys ask yourself if you're getting the whip for the best price imaginable.
InnerVisionPRO/Thinkstock

Haggling — some people love it, some people hate it. People who like it tend to enjoy the feeling of pushing for a great deal. People who hate to haggle like getting a good deal, but let's be honest: The entire process can be uncomfortable because typically the things we buy have a clear price with no room for negotiation.

One exception to the rule of set pricing is cars, and used cars have even less clear pricing than new cars do. When it comes to used cars, the price can vary due to the year, make and mileage of the car, as well as what features it has and the area you buy it in. The last thing that can impact a used car's price is the negotiation. Botching this part of the process can lead to paying more than you should. Use our ten tips to haggle your way through a great used car deal.

10: Do You Even Want to Haggle?

We know, it's weird to start out a list of used car haggling tips with one that implies negotiating may not be the way to go. The thing is, not everyone likes to haggle over used car prices and not everyone is good at it. If you don't want to do all the research and preparation needed to negotiate a good price on a used car, you're not going to do a great job haggling and could end up paying way more than is fair for a used car.

Deciding not to negotiate doesn't just mean showing up with a blank check. A number of used car dealerships, like Carmax, offer no-haggle pricing that's fair. Buy a used car from a dealer like that and you may not get as low of a price as you would have otherwise. But, it will save you some stress.

9: Set a Target

Once you decide you actually want to negotiate the price of a used car, you need to set a target. You should do this before you start car shopping, so you don't waste your time looking at cars you can't afford. Having a clear target price is the best way to anchor your negotiations because it will keep you focused and ensure that you don't allow the seller to push for more money than you can pay.

To figure out your target price, look at your budget and see what kind of car payment you can handle each month. If you're paying cash for a car, you can just decide how much of your money you want to use. You can find a ton of online calculators that will take your monthly payment and tell you the used car price you can afford. Once the target price is set, you'll know what number to aim for in your negotiations.

8: Find the Right Car

With a target price in hand, start searching for used cars that fit your budget. Finding the right used car and learning all you can about it is a key part of used car price negotiations. Once you've decided on the make and model, as well as the model years you're willing to buy, dive deep into all the features and options the car has available. You'll also want to research common repair issues and any recalls the automobile has been subject to. Having all that information can help you haggle and gain a better price. You need to know as much about the car as the seller does.


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