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How to Get the Best Deal on a Used Car

  • Posted on: Aug 1 2019
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Negotiation is a huge part of buying a used car. The seller expects it, and most buyers do it. The first price a used car seller offers is rarely his rock-bottom offer. Also, when it comes to used cars, while there are some guidelines as to what different models are worth, each vehicle is different with respect to the amount of use and wear. So, knowing that negotiation is part of the process, what are some useful ideas on how to get the best deal on a used car?

How to Negotiate for a Car

First, know how much you are prepared to pay for your used car. There’s no point in negotiating the seller down to a price you still can’t afford. If a car is obviously out of your price range, don’t waste your time. Once you know how much car you can afford and what kind of car you want, do some comparison shopping. Don’t just show up at a dealership and accept that their price is your best starting price. Look at a variety of used car lots and online sites where people sell cars so that you can get a good idea of what people are looking for with respect to price for the car you’re trying to buy.

The more knowledge you have, the better armed you will be to get the best price. There are two invaluable resources in this regard, both provided by Edmunds.com. The first is the True Market Value Calculator. This tells you the current base value of just about any car at the moment based on actual sales of that car or similar cars in your region. Having this number in mind can be a great negotiating weapon.

The second resource may be even more valuable when looking for a used car. This is the Edmunds.com Used Car for Sale locator. Just put in the type of car you are looking for and your zip code. You’ll instantly get a list of actual cars of this type for sale in your area and the asking price. The options are presented as a list so you can easily compare prices. Furthermore, the list includes the likely cost of financing, whether or not the offer is a good deal and how far below market value is the asking price.

Once you’ve found what you think is the right car, be sure to check the vehicle’s history report on a site like AutoCheck or CarFax. This will tell you important information like mileage and accident information, which can be critical factors when negotiating a price.

Before you agree on a price, be sure to take the car for a test drive. Some vehicle issues can only be discovered if you drive it around for a bit. You’ll also want to know if you are going to feel comfortable in the car.

Once you are confident that this is the car for you and are armed with your knowledge of how much these cars typically go for, you can make an offer.

Where to Find a Good Deal

Should you be buying a used car from a dealer to get the best price on a used car, or should you look for your used car online? The answer is that you should go wherever you can get the best price, but you should look at both. Use the resources provided above, and don’t be afraid to walk away if you are at a dealership or independent used car lot and their rock bottom price is higher than one you know you can find online.

When to Find the Best Deal

So, you now know a lot about how to find the best deal on a used car, but have you thought about when to find the best deal? Too many people don’t, and you may be overpaying for your used car as a result. For many people, the best time to buy a used car is when they need a used car, and once they know they need one they want it as soon as possible. But if you can look ahead and time the purchase right, certain times will deliver better deals.

The most obvious of these is closer to the end of the month. Used car salespeople may have monthly quotas to make, and if they are short, they may be desperate to make a deal. You’ll have to game this one out a little or get lucky, since if they’ve already made their quota, they will have the upper hand. But you should be able to get a sense quickly if you’re dealing with someone who needs to make a sale.

Similarly, near the end of the year is often a time to get better car deals. Dealers want to unload their vehicles so they can get a clean slate for the next year and make room for new models. Private sellers want to be done with their old cars so they can start fresh in the new year.

So, what is one of the best days of the year to buy a used car and get a great deal? You guessed it — Christmas Eve day! People selling cars on Christmas Eve just want to get it over with so they can go home and enjoy the holiday, so you can make a sweet deal if you can find a seller open on this day. Just like you can find great deals on many other products in that period that starts after Thanksgiving on Black Friday and ends on Christmas Eve, you can find great car deals, too.

Be Prepared

The bottom line when it comes to finding the best price for a used car is to show up prepared. Knowledge is power when you are negotiating a car price. If you don’t know how much a car is worth, how much you are prepared to pay and how much sellers are likely to accept, you will be severely handicapped in the negotiation. If you do know all these things, you will have a lot more confidence when trying to negotiate your best price. And, as always, never be afraid to walk away. There will always be another car buying opportunity out there.

Once you finally have your used car, you want to take good care of it to make sure it lasts. We talk to owners of used cars (and performance cars of varying ages) all the time. For quality products to protect your used car, like high-performance oil supplements and superior coolant treatments, contact Hy-per Lube now.

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