Shockingly enough, probably the best way to negotiate a used car price and get the best deal is to pay for the entire cost of the vehicle in cash. That way, you avoid paying any interest or finance charges. But unfortunately for the majority of us, that is financially impossible even at the lower prices usually afforded to used car buyers and they have to learn how to negotiate new car prices.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of ways to save money when buying a used car. If you plan to buy a used car, it is usually the best idea to only do so if the car is less than three years old. Part of the appeal of used car negotiating is the fact that you get a relatively new and hopefully mechanically reliable vehicle every few years for a lower down payment and monthly payment than if you bought new. For the majority of car shoppers, buying a used car that is a few years old and has already done the majority of its depreciating is probably a wiser financial move. Having some used car negotiating tips will make your buying process much better.
How to Negotiate Used Car Prices
One thing you need to be absolutely sure of when you are negotiating the price of a used car is that the vehicle is in good condition. Insist upon a vehicle history report that will tell you about any accidents the car may have been involved in or if the car was ever classified as totaled by an insurance company. Any car dealer should offer this paperwork as standard practice but if you are buying from a private party you will probably need to get one yourself.
A car that was once in a minor accident might still make a solid used buy and knowing that fact could be an excellent leveraging tool to negotiate the price of a used car. Never buy a used car that has been totaled by an insurance company as no amount of savings will spare you from the potential mechanical disaster a shoddily repaired car can become. Once a modern car is damaged to a certain point, it just never can be the same again.
If you are buying from a private party or even a dealership, it never hurts to bring someone along with you who knows a thing or two about mechanical problem signs. Simply by checking under the hood, inspecting the tire condition, the condition of belts, hoses and fluids as well as looking for leaks, you can find out if you should be negotiate a discount to repair these problems. If at all possible, get a professional mechanic to inspect your used car before you start negotiating the price of a used car.
Also, when negotiating a used car price, many people like to have the added peace of mind that comes with an extended warranty package. These plans can go for various lengths of time or up to certain mileage limits but not all extended warranties are created equal. Although there are plenty of well-managed independent companies that sell these extended warranties, it is usually wisest to buy one directly from the manufacturer who built the vehicle.
To qualify for most auto manufacturer extended warranty plans you need to sign up before the basic warranty term is over and they can be pricier than some independent outfits offering aftermarket coverage. Remember, the cost of extra warranty coverage is one of the biggest expenses in negotiating a used car price but this is not the place to try and save a few pennies each month.
Manufacturer extended warranties are backed up by automakers (which don’t go out of business as regularly as aftermarket warranty firms) and they are valid at any of their dealerships across the country. They also are filed like normal warranty claims by the dealer and don’t require that an outside investigator from an aftermarket firm come out to “double check” the validity of the claim, thereby extending the length of time it takes to repair your vehicle. If you want to add an extended warranty to your used car, buy from the original manufacturer.
Other than those caveats about knowing your used car’s history and purchasing an extended warranty, negotiating used car prices should be much like buying a new car only when you drive off the dealer lot, you won’t lose at least 25% of the car’s value instantly. A used car may no longer have that “new car smell” but given the proper amount of research into its history, this kind of vehicle will not only save you money at the time of purchase, but should prove unfailingly reliable for years to come. Just know what you are buying and negotiating used car prices will be easier.