Purchasing a used car can be an interesting experience. Because you aren’t going through the traditional routes, you will be dealing with non-dealers, people selling their cars from their own garages and even used car dealers. One big downside of buying a used car is that you never know what you are going to get – the vehicle could look great on the outside, but on the inside could be a complete lemon. So, avoiding lemons is critical. However, a big plus side of purchasing a used vehicle is that you can often negotiate the price down. Here are five effective tips and tactics for negotiating the price of a used car.

  1. Don’t do anything at all. This is by far the toughest negotiating tactic, but it can work. If you find the used car that you want to purchase, you want to give the person selling it your offer price. Even if it is significantly lower than the sticker price, you want to avoid any interaction – you simply want to write down your phone number and walk away. This will give you the upper hand when they call you later to meet somewhere in the middle.
  2. Purchase the used car at the end of the day – at the end of the week. If you are purchasing a vehicle from a used car dealer, you want to be sure to visit at the end of the week; right before closing time. This is usually that strange time during the week when dealers are eager to unload vehicles and make room for new ones. So, you can often get a much better deal, because dealers will be much more willing to give them.
  3. Research the true value of a car. A car won’t have just one resale value – there will be a value for the vehicle in poor condition, moderate condition, and mint condition. If the vehicle is not in excellent condition – maybe the exterior has a few chips and dents – you have a tremendous amount of leeway when it comes to lowering the price. However, you want to know what some of the values are before you start negotiating, which is where doing your homework and research will come in handy.
  4. Have dealers compete against each other. If you are purchasing a vehicle that a few other dealers may have on their lots, you will have a lot of negotiating power. All you have to do is find the lowest sticker price and use that price to have other dealers try to beat it. All dealers are looking to offer the best price and to hopefully sell the vehicle to a buyer, so having a few sticker prices can be incredibly helpful.
  5. Get the vehicle inspected. When you are working with different dealers – or even if you are purchasing a used vehicle from someone’s garage – you want to have the vehicle inspected by a mechanic. Ideally, you want this mechanic not to be associated with the seller of the vehicle. In the end, if you find that something is wrong with the vehicle, you can either decide not to buy it or negotiate the price down to a more appropriate resale value.