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How haggling can help you pay less for a second-hand car

Haggling’s just not British, right? Wrong. More than six in 10 people get some money off the price of a second-hand car just by asking. It seems when it comes to buying a used car most of us aren’t afraid to try getting the best deal. 

Research by MoneyHelper shows men are more willing to negotiate over price, with 67% bagging a discount compared to 60% of women, but there’s no reason why anyone can’t give it a go. 

What’s the best car for you?

You’ll probably have an upper limit to spend on a specific model. But there’s more to the cost of a car than what you pay for it – running costs including fuel, tax and insurance are also important considerations. 


Always shop around first

Shop around once you have a clear idea of the going rate for a particular car. Check online to see what rival dealers in your area are offering on comparable models as this can be a good bargaining tool when you are on the hunt for your next car. 

If you’re selling your current car, make sure you know its value, so you get the best price to put towards your new purchase. Motoring guides such as Glass’s and Parkers can help here. You'll probably get more if you sell your car privately, but this approach can take more time. 

Seal the deal with a garage 

Be friendly and polite when negotiating with a dealership, but never let the salesperson know your upper limit. Start with a lower offer so you can negotiate up and meet in the middle. 

Always be positive when you make an offer. Don’t ask for a discount, but instead ask what they can do for you on the price – and don’t speak again until the salesperson replies. 

If you’re a cash buyer, don’t tell the salesperson this straight away. Dealers make bigger profits on finance deals, so let them negotiate the car’s value on that basis. You can decline the finance deal once you’ve agreed on a price. If you’re struggling to get a discount but really want the car, offer to buy it there and then. A quick sale may help you agree a price. 

And don’t be afraid to walk out if the dealer won’t negotiate – there is no shortage of car dealerships. 



The pros and cons of buying a car from private sellers

You won’t get a used car warranty if you buy from a private seller, meaning you have less legal comeback if there’s a problem. But they won’t have sales targets to meet and so could be willing to drop their price, especially if they’ve already earmarked their next car and need to offload their old one to free up some cash. 

What do you think?

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  • bill cosby / 3 May 2018

    no u

  • Carmaggeddon Salvage / 23 June 2017

    This is a really useful post. I have gained so many new information from here.

  • Motor2go / 30 November 2016

    Wow awesome blog and important information about selling cars online,i really like this blog and wants to share with my friends.

  • Tony Deacon / 31 March 2016

    I just bought a second hand audi A4 convertible. It was on for 5000 with Private Seller but managed to get it for 4650. Very nice car and so far very happy with it.

  • Eddie Morrison / 26 March 2016

    Always negotiate a discount and be prepared to walk away if you don't get offered one,my preference is to buy from a dealer for peace of mind,I recently bought a Ford Focus and initially they wouldn't budge on the price,I then thanked them for their time and got up to leave and to cut to the chase a £7k car was reduced to £6700 so be firm and polite and realistic on discounts,only pay a £100 deposit on the car the balance on collection so that all agreed work on the car is to your satisfaction,then and only then do you part with the cash.

  • Jeanette / 10 March 2016

    Bought a used car recently, saw the value was £855 on valuation sites, one offered via Gumtree at £595. Negotiated £500 before I saw it on the phone, as the car was some 40 minutes drive from where I live and I didn't want to negotiate face to face ! Car is in good condition for age, small problem with the temperature sensor, but overall extremely happy with my little bargain =)

  • Paul_42 / 22 February 2016

    I generally only buy new cars. Do your homework beforehand, decide exactly what you want and typically what discount from list price is typical (internet, car mags etc.). Put the numbers into a spreadsheet so that you understand how the final price is arrived at (model, metallic paint, options, on the road costs, finance discounts, manufacturers discounts). Once you go into a dealership the dealer will attempt to tie you in knots with all sorts of things you didn't think of (paint protection, accidental tyre damage insurance etc.) and probably don't want. Stick to your spreadsheet target/price and only adjust for things you want or can't buy without. If you haven't done some homework you are just a lamb to the slaughter!

  • bilai / 17 February 2016

    You can always check for some discount.

  • Patrick O'Carroll / 13 February 2016

    When did car dealers become ,the ridiculous, and self-aggrandising, "dealerships" ?

  • wilfrid clapton / 13 February 2016

    not being a engineer it is tricky buying a second hand car .i suppose you can be lucky and unlucky.if you had a good mechanic to go with you .it would boost your confidence

  • Carole Thompson / 5 February 2016

    I found this information really useful, I'm in the middle of upgrading my husbands car, and have done a huge amount of research ,question why are the best priced vehicles 200 hundred miles away.
    I digress we are going to take a look at our first potential car this week end so I will put your good advice to the test.

  • Martin Cairney / 3 February 2016

    I have never purchased a car, new or second-hand, without successfully negotiating a better deal than the one first offered by the salesperson. If you don't negotiate, you will almost certainly pay more than you could/should have.

  • dave c / 18 January 2016

    it depends on what car your buying, if you want a mondeo, fine, look for a discount he knows you can go elsewhere.
    if you want a 4 year old seal grey 911 997 done under 30k with full m/d service history, you can't, there aren't that many around.

  • Barbara Thorpe-smith / 22 November 2015

    I have put a £500 deposit on yaris sport hebrid total cost with pearl white paint auto with the pro pack which after I paid the deposit was informed it was not fitted at the factory and the garage technician is to fit it total cost cash of £14 500 which is preregisterd car end oct 2015 my friend want me to cancel and get my deposit which I paid on ccard the balance to be paid when car is on my driveway would appreciate your independant comments ASAP thank you my friend has gone bonkers with me because he say it's used even though it has not been driven and the pro pack would been better if factory fitted and if something goes wrong would it be guaranteed under Toyota five year warranty

  • Barbara Thorpe-smith / 22 November 2015

    I have put a £500 yaris sport hebrid total cost with pearl white paint auto with the pro pack which after I paid the deposit was informed it was not fitted at the factory and the garage technician is to fit it total cost cash of £14 500 which is preregisterd car end oct 2015 my friend want me to cancel and get my deposit which I paid on ccard the balance to be paid when car is on my driveway would appreciate your independant comments ASAP thank you

  • Jeff / 14 July 2015

    I have a PCP? This will end in April next year, what options do I have, other than changing for another new car. I want change the car now, not next year. I want a smaller car, I live in a small village and only use the car around the village and shopping. Thank you. Jeff.

  • James Brace / 7 March 2015

    Last October I found a Skoda Yeti 1.2S 62 plate 15,000 miles,at a dealers.Was offered at £11500,which according to Glasses guide was not high,but I wanted to pay less naturally,so offered £10500 without part exchange,and salesman accepted.When buying cars always decide what you want to pay,tell dealer,they agree or you walk away-simple.

  • jim provan / 24 February 2015

    What a genius..... pay as little as you can..... get as much back for your part exchange in return....
    you didnt suggest judging each potential purchase on its individual merits i.e complete specification or colour (as some vehicles attract/retain value due to the exterior colour).
    Your blanket advice could prevent a potential buyer from making the best purchase when looking to buy their vehicle of choice.
    You dont mention quality or the comprehensive contents of warranties supplied that also (and obviously) has a cost element attached.
    With your advice on never revealing your true budget that tactic can work against the purchaser as a dealer will sometimes not bother to suggest "the next model up" if they deem the gap too far to bridge costing the potential purchaser the opportunity to get a better vehicle than they originally set out to purchase for roughly their true budget.

    Not the most accurate "piece of consumer advice offered in your "article"

  • Mike / 18 February 2015

    I tend to print off the details of a few similar cars from the internet at lower prices even if they are no where near where I would travel to. Even if the car has faults, just print off pictures of the car with the price on. When the dealer see's you have these other cars to look at, he's more likely to drop his price to stop you going elsewhere.

  • Jennie / 14 February 2015

    I am in barking on buying a second car at the moment it's a minefield not to choose a lemon.
    Your article however is most useful and I shall be carrying your pointers around with me
    Thank you