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How to haggle when buying a car


Learn the tricks of the trade in negotiating car prices.

Two people haggling

Next to a house, a car is probably your second biggest purchase you’ll make. Therefore, it’s important to give yourself the best possible chance of getting the right vehicle and the right deal.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at how to haggle when buying a car.

Research beforehand

The internet is an incredible resource for car buyers, with plenty of views and opinions from experts. Make sure you use this to your advantage when it comes to researching the motor you’re after. Take plenty of time to read up on the vehicles you’re interested in.

Make sure you understand what makes them different, as well as what makes them similar. It’s also important that you do your homework on what you should expect to pay for the car(s) you’re drawn to.

Woman doing online research

Book a test drive

Modern cars often come with an array of different features and options. You need to know exactly what you’re looking for, as well as what you like and don’t like in a car. You may know which model you want, but do you know which engine? What about the kind of gearbox?

Perhaps there’s new technology you’d like to know more about. While a dealer is highly unlikely to have every variation available for you to test, they may have something similar. Don’t be afraid to ask to try things.

Be thorough and test everything that you want to, as you may well discover something that will make you rethink your plans.

Driver in a car

Be friendly and approachable

This is actually more significant than many people may realise. The relationship between the seller and the buyer is important, and being approachable and friendly can really oil the wheels of negotiation.

Going about business in the right way – ie not being rude and demanding – is highly likely to save you money because the trader will be more inclined to assist somebody they actually like.

Happy couple

Be careful what you reveal

It’s imperative to keep some things to yourself, as it strengthens your position in the negotiation process. You shouldn’t, for example, reveal your highest limit. The salesperson may well build a deal around this threshold, rather than advise what’s genuinely best for your needs.

Keep in mind that finance packages can be a good way to get a deal on a new car. This is because dealerships have more flexibility to tailor specific packages around finance.

Sales person showing details to a buyer

Be flexible

Knowing how to co-operate is absolutely vital if you want to secure yourself the best deal. It’s no use demanding thousands of pounds off the price of a car and not budging from that position. Sometimes you have to give a little bit back.

Negotiation is a particularly useful technique to employ when discussing optional extras. Using this tactic may only save you a couple of hundred quid, but that’s still extra cash in your pocket.

Two people shaking hands

Take your time

The best things come to those who wait, so they say. A seller will be highly unlikely to offer any discounts if he or she knows you’re rushing. So don’t accept a deal too quickly. Get a detailed quote and politely walk away for a little bit to think things over.

If you’re patient and a little lucky, perhaps the dealer will call back in a few days to offer you something a little extra.

Parked car

Here are some helpful tips:


  • Remain polite, charming, and easy to talk to at all times. Being somebody who’s a pleasure to do business with will help you secure the best deal, and maybe even a favour or two.

  • Let the seller know you’re serious. If you’re really keen on a car, let them realise, but do it in a way that doesn’t make it look like you’re in a hurry to make a decision.

  • Be flexible and patient. Be prepared to meet the seller in the middle so it feels like you’re helping the negotiations move along.


  • Make unrealistic demands or be stubborn. This is a business deal, so you need to be flexible and understand the position of the seller. There’s a deal that suits both parties in there somewhere – you have to work together to find it.

  • Be rude. If you’re disrespectful, nobody is going to want to help you.

  • Go into negotiations unprepared. Without research, how will you know if the deal is a good one? So, don’t sit down at the table until you’ve done some fact-finding.


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