How to Negotiate Used Cars? – All the Useful Tactics You Need to Know

If you’ve ever met a salesperson, then you probably know how persuasive they can be. Unless you know how to negotiate used cars, you’ll end up buying into their attractive deals. They’ll do their best to benefit from the sale – and we can’t blame them, can we?

But we can be prepared for the upcoming trade. With a proper attitude, and a touch of confidence you will be able to win yourself an amazing deal. Once you understand how much will a dealer negotiate on used cars, you’ll know what to expect. Let’s get started and master the art of negotiations together!

What’s the difference between car sellers?

It might be surprising for the novices, but there are different types of sellers. It’s easy to think that they are all the same, but in reality, they all have their peculiarities. Once you understand what’s the difference between all those sellers, you’ll be one step closer to unveiling their weaknesses.

In other words, you’ll learn how to stay confident and haggle like a pro.

Private-party sellers

These are those individual sellers that usually have their listings on websites such as Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, eBay Motors, etc. They might not have the best advertisements in the world but they will surely offer the biggest discount.

You see, private-party sellers aren’t usually professional salespeople. They are more flexible when it comes to negotiating the price. However, they are the most unreliable as well, so be cautious.

Local dealers

Local dealers are small businesses that buy and sell used cars. They are more reliable compared to private-party sellers. You have amazing chances of trading with them, as they are likely to meet you halfway.

Corporate dealerships

Corporate dealerships are the sellers that can be either local or nationwide. They have their own companies with famous names and professional salespeople. Their cars are 100% trustworthy because such businesses are serious about quality.

You’ll probably do their best to keep their initial deals, but you can still negotiate a decent price with them. Once you learn how much will dealerships negotiate on used cars, you’ll understand what to expect.  

Certified pre-owned dealerships

These are fancy dealerships that sell cars from specific brands. Be it a casual Ford or luxury Lexus, they usually have it all. Their cars will be the most expensive, but they will also be in great condition. So, if you want to get a certified car, such a dealership is the best option.

Keep in mind that it won’t be easy to negotiate the best price with them, but it’s still possible.

How much will a dealer negotiate on used cars?

It depends, but generally somewhere between 1000 to 2000 bucks.

The main factors that determine the length of the negotiating room are the condition, timing, communication methods, and the amount of time the car has spent in storage.

The condition

It’s quite obvious that you’ll be able to negotiate the best price for the car that’s in worse condition than its competitors. These are the vehicles that are hardest to sell, so the dealerships are more willing to be flexible. Even though they want to benefit from making a sale, they don’t want a car to sit in the lot for too long.


How much will car dealers come down on used cars? – it hugely depends on your timing. For instance, if you bid on a car at the beginning of a month, your chances of getting a good deal are close to zero. You’ll be able to negotiate a better price if you approach dealers at the end of the month.

Communication methods

Dealers won’t be willing to come down on used cars if you choose the wrong communication methods. If you want to negotiate the best price, you need to haggle in person. Email is the worst thing to choose, trust me. A phone call is still not as good as a tête-à-tête meeting, but it can still work in certain situations.

The amount of time a car has spent in the storage

If you want to learn how to haggle used cars, then you have to know what to bid on. Time is the worst enemy for salespeople. They don’t want their vehicles to spend months in storage. The more time it spends in their garage, the more they will be willing to negotiate.

How much will dealerships negotiate on used cars (certified pre-owned)?

Not that much. Certified pre-owned dealerships are luxury experience and they know that perfectly well. They offer premium service and they’ll certainly charge you for that.

As I’ve mentioned, their used cars are in perfect condition. With other dealerships, you usually have to turn a blind eye on a few dents or scratches, not to mention the interior. Certified pre-owned vehicles will resemble new cars and it’s only logical that they cost way more.

However, if you keep the previous rules in mind, you might still be able to get a decent deal. For instance, if you approach such dealerships at the end of a month, you’ll be able to negotiate a good price. This rule won’t apply to all the salespeople, but it should work in the majority of cases.

Another way to haggle with certified pre-owned dealerships is to approach them when the demand is lowest. If they hope another customer will buy it for a higher price, they won’t come down as much. Once again, choose your timing wisely.

How much negotiating room on used cars you have hugely depends on your skills and expertise. If you approach certified pre-owned dealerships (or any other dealer, really) unprepared, I assure you, you’ll fail. Always remember that these people are professional and they know what they are doing. Similarly, you have to do your part and do your own homework.

Let’s see what you need to do to negotiate the best deals on used cars.

How to haggle used cars?

Now that you know how much will dealers negotiate on used cars, it’s time we took a look at the steps you need to take if you want to haggle like a pro. If you keep these tips in mind, you’ll be just as convincing as your salesperson.

Do your research

I can’t even iterate how important it is to do your prior research. I’ve mentioned a couple of times that you need to be prepared. Determining the real value of a car in question is one of the crucial steps you need to take. Be it a private-party seller or a dealership, they will do their best to sell a car with benefit.

But if you already know how much a car is worth, then you won’t get deceived by those attractive words.

Use the phone-call tactic

A phone call can be your winning card if you use it correctly. Salespeople will try to convince you to make an offer in real life, but if you insist on haggling over the phone, you might get a better deal. Since they use your emotions against you, you can use a phone call to your advantage.  

Be confident while making an opening offer

It’s better to force the salesperson to make an opening offer, but if you have to make it yourself, you have to do everything correctly. You have to be confident, but not too demanding. Name a price that is below market value, but never go too far. For instance, if the value of a used car is 10,000$, deduct a couple of thousand dollars and start your offer there.

Don’t be lazy to haggle

You have to remember that haggling includes offers and counter-offers. You name a price, they try to change your mind, then you make a counter-offer, then they make a counter-offer, etc. Don’t be lazy to go through all of that! If you’re going to settle for the first counter-offer, then why do you even want to know how to negotiate used cars?

Secure a deal with paperwork

Salespeople will try to use their language to confuse you and make you believe you have your offer. Then you look at the paperwork and everything looks different. Always make sure to secure the deal with the paperwork and double-check what’s written there. Don’t let the salesperson postpone paperwork if you don’t want to lose your offer.


Now that you know how to negotiate used cars, you won’t have any trouble winning yourself a good deal. The main thing is to have realistic expectations and remember everything we’ve learned today. If you’re confident and strategic, you’ll succeed at any haggle. Don’t forget to choose your dealer wisely. Good luck!