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How to Negotiate the Price of a Car

Car 3 min read

09 Feb 2021

 4WheelGuideYour roadmap to buying a new or used car 

As myth-busting motor-expert Bob Flavin explained in our blog; Common Car Buying Myths, Busted! the price at the dealership not is final.

But how exactly do you wrangle yourself a deal, or, at best, make sure you’re getting the fair market value; and any available extras? 

As part of our 4Wheel Guide Series, we’ve gathered advice from car buying guides and experts to give you the top five tips when negotiating the price of your car.


1. Arm yourself with specifics

The more specific you are, the stronger your position will be in in the dealership. Do your research before you go – know the model, colour, age, as well as features like manual or automatic, optional extras etc. – to show them you are confident about what you want, and in a better place to negotiate.   


2. Know the market value of the car

Know the market price of your chosen car. Car manufacturer’s will list the price of new models on their website, along with lists of additional extras, and sometimes slightly used models too.

If you’re buying a used car, you can browse second-hand websites, but you can also run the registration plate of any car into MyVehicle.ie for a vehicle valuation, which will show the market price of the car.


3. Set a minimum and maximum car price

Set yourself a minimum or ‘floor’ price; usually 5-15% lower than the asking price; and then a maximum price you will pay, usually not higher than the market value of the car.

The prices are always negotiable; but the dealer will push you to spend more than your maximum limit, and will most likely refuse your minimum - at first. 

When setting your budget, it is, of course, completely up to you, and depends on variables such as your lifestyle, outgoings, income etc., but you should have it set before you go to the dealer. To help you set your budget check out our handy How Much Should I Spend blog.

4. Trading in your old car? Ask for separate prices

If you’re trading in your old car, ask for both prices separately, the price of the car without a trade-in, and with the trade-in. Also be aware the dealer may use trade-in sales tactics – such as offering you very low trade-in discount, before haggling up (making it appear you are getting a great offer) and also adding on much of the discount to the price of the car, so the overall deal appears better.


5. Know what’s included in the dealer’s car quote

Once the dealer gives you a quote, ask him to be specific about what's included in the price. A lot of the time, dealers will offer what it called a ‘stacked deal.’ They will include additional options like paint protection, floor mats and extended warranty into the price of the car.

Actually, things like a full tank, a set of floor mats, even a sat nav system, can cost dealers very little, so you shouldn’t be paying over and above of them.


6. Do a background check

Always validate what you are told with your own background check on the vehicle. They are many sites which let you check the history of a car, like MyVehicle.ie, CarTell.ieMotorcheck.ie, and the details you find can always help with your negotiation.


7. Don’t jump on the first car offer

Even if you’re happy with the dealer’s offer, it’s advisable to not act overly-enthusiastic, or to agree to the first car you find.  Remember there are plenty of cars to look at in many other places; you could find a better price somewhere else. Having a few quotes from different dealerships means you can always return your favourite car/local shop with a lower quote from elsewhere, in the hope they will match it.

8. Be friendly, but don’t be friends

It is important you don’t allow a salesman to ease you into a very relaxed and friendly relationship; this can also be a tactic. But, at the same time, they are still people; and it’s important they like you enough to give you a good price! It's all about the balance.

If you’re in the market for a car loan why not contact your local credit union who will come back to you with details on the interest rates they currently offer? Alternatively, to see what the average car loan rate will cost you – check out our handy loan calculator
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