How to Haggle a Car's Price Down

It can be daunting haggling for a discount on anything, let alone a car, but we have some tips to help you feel confident.

Most British people can confidently say that haggling is not one of their strong points and it's to be expected, considering the vast majority of things we buy in this country have a set price that is vigorously kept to.

You wouldn't ever dream of going down to your local pub and trying to haggle with the bar staff to get the price of your pint down from £6 to £4, so what makes buying a car any different?

Well, given that cars are far more expensive and car dealers have targets to hit, you'll be surprised just how easy it is to get the price of your dream motor down a tad, or even get some additional perks or accessories thrown in with it.

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That doesn't make the thought of haggling any less daunting though, and it can be easy to lose your nerve when the customer service provided by the dealer is top-class - you almost feel guilty asking for a discount.

But regardless of who you are dealing with, haggling could and should be done, provided you go into it knowing a few things about what you want so you're not caught out. Let's get to everything you need to know.

Know the car's listed price

It's easy to discover this ahead of time and it will give you an idea of what it's actually valued at versus how much you can realistically get away with haggling. Once you know this information, you'll be in a much stronger position to get a better deal.

Know exactly what you want

If you know exactly what you want ahead of time and stick to it, then there's no chance that you can be talked into adding extras you don't need or getting a cheaper spec. You want the exact model you like at the best price possible.

Use mileage in your favour

If you see the same car that you like at different dealers and one has higher mileage than the other, you can use this to your advantage to get them to drop the overall price.

Contact dealerships for deals and prices ahead of time

If you wanted to save time and avoid face-to-face interaction, then you could consider emailing the dealer, telling them exactly what you want so they come back to you with the price for that exact make and model.

Of course, you should expect a lot of emails back and forth and maybe even some discussions over the phone, but this is a good way to make it clear from the get-go what you want without feeling any intimidation.

Know your current car's part-exchange value

If you know this figure accurately, then it'll make haggling that much easier. You can get that by signing up to Car Credible for free.

Shop around to see what others are offering

Scope out other local dealers and see what sort of prices they are offering. If you are able to compare the prices of their competitors, it could help you negotiate better as they will want to get the sale ahead of them.

Don't be rude or give away your top price

It's easy to get flustered during haggling, but don't let them know your top price as they will likely oppose any haggling from that point onwards.


Offer a price lower than your minimum limit

Start at the very bottom and work your way up. You could get an even better deal than you initially thought.

Be upfront and ask for discounts

If the dealer is a little reluctant about offering a discount, don't get disheartened and still politely ask. Say you'll complete the deal if they offer you a good price and even if they knock an extra couple of hundred pounds off, it's better than nothing.

Don't let them know fit you're a cash buyer at the start

If you aren't planning on taking out car finance, don't let the dealer know this as they might offer a discount themselves with a view to adding finance to the deal. Once you're aware of any such discounts, then you can swoop in and tell them you don't require finance and hopefully, they won't retract their previous offer.

Make an offer and await their response

It's all about who can keep their nerve the longest, so if you do make an offer and there's some hesitation or a period of silence, don't say anything else until the dealer responds. 

Walking away may be ineffective

If you end up getting frustrated by any negotiations and walk away, it will probably not help your cause as so much information regarding particular cars is available online that the likelihood is they'll still be able to make a sale from someone else relatively quickly.

If you are just not impressed by the price they are offering, you should politely thank them for their time and leave. You may well find a better deal up the road.

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How to prepare to haggle?

Do you research ahead of time into the make and model that you want. Knowing its maximum price will help you get a better idea of what you actually want to pay for it.