10 Tips for Haggling Over a Used Car

Even More Tips for Haggling Over a Used Car

The inspection is arguably the most important part of the used car buying process.
The inspection is arguably the most important part of the used car buying process.

3: Use the Inspection to Your Advantage

You want to have any used car you're thinking of buying professionally inspected not only to make sure you're not buying a lemon, but also to give you some potential leverage in negotiating the price. The inspection can turn up issues with the car that you may decide are too severe and you just want to walk away from. The inspection can also turn up small issues or potential issues (like a part that may soon be worn out) that you can take back to the seller to get them to lower the price. If, for example, the inspection finds that the air conditioner will need a charge, you can ask the seller to lower the price to reflect the fact that the car will need repairs soon.

2: Do It in Writing

Part of the reason people don't like haggling is because it can feel uncomfortable. That's something that a lot of car sellers and dealers are counting on. They negotiate all the time so they're likely more comfortable doing it than you are.

One way to lessen the discomfort is to negotiate via email or text message. This can help you keep some of your emotions out of the process and just focus on the facts. You'll buy time to think about what the seller is offering and to consult your research to make sure you're getting a fair deal. It's a lot easier to walk away from a bad deal when the seller isn't right in front of you. Also, you'll have a record of the agreed-upon price if you ever need it.

1: Be Nice!

This last tip is for both buyers and sellers: be nice! Many people go into used car price negotiations feeling adversarial. The seller (or the buyer) isn't out to get you. They're just trying to get the best deal for themselves — just like you are. When you're negotiating, be polite. Don't diss the seller or the car. Stick to the facts about what the car is worth given its condition, mileage and the area you're in. Look at used car price haggling as less of a competition and more as a process for getting both people to a deal that they're happy with. With the right attitude and plenty of research to back yourself up, you'll be haggling like a pro in no time.

Author's Note: 10 Tips for Haggling Over a Used Car Price

I don't know about you, but I love negotiating car prices. I love the research phase, seeing what cars in the area are going for and I love crunching all the data I gather to set a target price. Of course I pay attention to my budget, but the thrill of negotiation (which I do pretty much exclusively via email or text — it's easier that way) is almost as exciting as the thrill of getting a good deal.

Related Articles


  • Brett. "How to Negotiate for a Used Car." The Art of Manliness." June 16, 2010. (June 20, 2015). http://www.artofmanliness.com/2010/06/16/how-to-negotiate-for-a-used-car/
  • Kelley Blue Book. "10 Steps to Buying a Used Car." Kelley Blue Book. (June 20, 2015). http://www.kbb.com/car-advice/car-buying/step-10-negotiate-your-best-dealer-retail-price/
  • Lancaster, Jason. "What Are Some Good Tactics To Use To Lower The Price Of A Car While Negotiating With A Car Sales Person?" Forbes.com. July 26, 2013 (June 20, 2015). http://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2013/07/26/what-are-some-good-tactics-to-use-to-lower-the-price-of-a-car-while-negotiating-with-a-car-sales-person/
  • Sharifi, Jim. "How to Negotiate the Price of a Car." U.S. News and World Report. May 17, 2013 (June 20, 2015) http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/cars-trucks/How_to_Negotiate_the_Best_Price_on_a_New_Car/
  • Reed, Philip. "How to get a Used Car Bargain: Negotiating and Closing the Deal." Edmunds.com. September 13, 2013. (June 20, 2015). http://www.edmunds.com/car-buying/how-to-get-a-used-car-bargain-part-three.html


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