How many times have you heard horror stories about trying to negotiate at a car dealer? Maybe it’s the constant back and forth, or the lack of any ability to drive a bargain, but it never sounds like fun. 

Fortunately, you can arm yourself with a couple aces to keep in your sleeve. If you know how to negotiate a car price, you already have a big advantage over other potential buyers. Use these tips to save some money and put it toward a reward for a deal you closed on your own.

​Why Should You Someone Know How To Negotiate A Car Price?

Anybody who has seen Glengarry Glen Ross remembers the mantra “always be closing” given to the salesmen at the beginning of the film. You might not be selling a car price, but you are driving toward a signature. In your case, knowing how to negotiate a car price can save you a significant amount of money.

There’s no reason to not attempt to bring down the price of your purchase. Whether your car is new or used, the dealer is the one standing to benefit the most. Look at it as if you’re going into a casino where the odds favor the house. Sure, you won’t be walking out with a ton of winnings, but you can be sure that they get away with as little as possible.


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Once you realize how much you stand to gain from negotiating, you’ll want to learn all that you can. The art of negotiating doesn’t have to be a chess match, and you can get out of the dealer with huge gains. Eventually, people will be coming to you for tips on how to bring down the price of a car.

​​​What Are Some Tips On How To Negotiate A Car Price?

Now that you’re interested in negotiation tactics, find out what skills you can exercise when you walk into a dealer. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll earn yourself some great savings before you get the keys.

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Learn As Much As You Can About The Car

In 2018, the amount of information at your disposal on anything, never mind cars, is unlimited. You can reach into your pocket and find the answer to almost any question you could ask.

Why not use the entire extent of the internet to find out what you can about a potential car purchase? Thanks to places like Carfax, every last detail about a car purchase is available to you. If you’re shopping for a used vehicle, previous reports about the ownership and usage are vital to your negotiations.

About The Car

If you can point out a detail that justifies a drop-in price, you should exploit that to your advantage. Not only will you be able to bring down the price of the purchase, but you might be able to get more for a trade. If the person selling you the car attempts to distract you from a feature that’s central to the conversation, bring it back to the point.

They might try and have you focus on the payment itself when you should be discussing one of the features of the car. Don’t be afraid to stop the talk and reorganize your discussion. You aren’t committed to anything before you have the keys in your hand and the documents signed. If you feel like there is something about the car you haven’t been told, ask about it. Don’t let any part of a car’s history go unchecked.

​Find Out What Financing Offers And Deals Are Available

You’ll likely shop for a car during a time when special financing offers are available. This could come with an introductory APR period, zero-percent financing for a limited time, or a bonus on your trade. If you find some of these offers, you have a big advantage in negotiation.

Financing Offers And Deals Available

​When offers for trades or financing come through, this can be due to a slow period during the dealer’s business. Thanks to a lull in sales, they need to move their inventory, and they need willing customers like you to aid the process. Whether it’s a cash-back offer once you purchase or an extended period of low interest, you’ll be amazed how advantageous this is for you.

Once you find out what deals are available, find out if you can combine one or more offers. If your trade is in great condition, convince them that nobody else will have a previous car as good as yours. You might find that leasing a car provides you with more opportunity for savings, so consider this idea along with a purchase. Most importantly, be up front about your credit history.

The dealer is going to check into your past ownership, as well as other accounts you have open. If you’re a veteran or a senior citizen, there might be pre-existing deals not mentioned in any ads.

​Keep Your Trade As A Separate Transaction

Even though you might include a trade as part of the negotiation, don’t bring it into the discussion. You already know how to negotiate a car price, and you won’t need an extra vehicle to enter the transaction. Giving a dealer the bait with a trade-in allows them to lowball you on the value of your existing car.


​Once you have a price for the purchase on paper, that’s when you can say, “Oh, by the way, I have a car to trade in.” Make sure you know the value of your trade before you offer it to the dealer. The Kelley Blue Book will be your best friend when shopping your own vehicle to dealers.

When getting a price quote from KBB, make sure you are completely open with any issues your car has. This could mean the difference in a few hundred bucks. Armed with a KBB price, you won’t get any issues from the dealer when they offer you a value. They probably use the same value when offering you a dollar amount, but it doesn’t hurt to keep yourself aware of the price.

​Business Is Business

When you purchase a vehicle, you’re going to be under some stress. You might have people asking you lots of questions, and you’ll be getting unsolicited advice from strangers, family, and friends. Take a deep breath and remove yourself from all of it. The only advice that matters when you know how to negotiate a car price is what you already have.

​Business Is Business

​Although you have learned how to bring down the price, the sales agent is more experienced at this than you. You’re trying to save money, and they’re trying to make money. If you understand this, you will also realize that they are trying to put money in their own pocket. If you are cordial and friendly, you’ll have a better time.

Don’t go out of your way to be cold and hostile during the process. Yes, you want to come out on top, but being rude isn’t going to win you anything other than a hard bargain. Be persistent but friendly and you’ll feel better about the entire deal.

​What Else Can Be Learned About How To Negotiate A Car Price?

Try to time your visit around the end of certain periods. Often, car dealerships need to meet sales goals, and you’ll find that these expire around the end of a month or a quarter. It’s ignorant to just show up at the end of the night before closing but scheduling your visit before the end of a sales period might win you some bonus points when negotiating.


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Also, keep reading. Read everything that is handed to you, read it again, and then read it one more time. Make sure that every document in front of you, whether it’s digital or paper, has been checked several times before you agree. 

If you return at an alternative time, make sure that the wording on each document hasn’t changed. This is critical when you are offered financing terms.

​How To Negotiate A Car Price And Seal The Deal

Once you put all of these tips into practice, you can rest easy and smile at a job well done. By the time you have all the paperwork signed and completed, you’ll wonder what all the stress was about. 


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The great thing about learning how to negotiate a car price is the skills you pick up along the way. Persuasive communication isn’t just a great skill in a car dealership. If you plan to purchase a home, you can do the same thing when you learn about property value. Even something as simple as what movie gets chosen could be simple once you know how to negotiate.

After you drive home in your new purchase, think about the skills you have picked up along the way. Don’t forget them when the time comes to purchase another car – the tried and true methods will always win your battles in the dealership.

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