Haggling with sellersCar sellers expect buyers to haggle on price, and factor this in when they set their price. It can save you hundreds of pounds so it’s important you know how to haggle successfully.

Do your homework

You’re more likely to get a good deal if you offer reasons to ask for a discount. Before you haggle:

• Get a car valuation
• Get a car history check
Inspect the car
Test drive the car
Check the documents

If any of this isn’t what you would expect, it’s good grounds to open negotiations.

Knowledge is power

• Get a car valuation to know how much the car is worth – if the buyer is asking too much, showing them the valuation may encourage them to drop the price
• If a car history check shows the car was in an accident, stolen or has outstanding finance against it, it could represent a riskier purchase – if you’re satisfied the car is fit for your needs, you should pay less than the market rate
• Areas of the car which require maintenance are good reasons to ask for a discount
• Faults found during a test drive are always worth haggling over
• Incomplete documents make a car’s history less certain
• Check any modifications have been carried out to a high standard and be aware some modifications can devalue cars
• Check what deals and discounts are available elsewhere and ask sellers to match them


A successful haggle should mean the buyer and seller both walk away thinking they’ve got a good deal.

• Know the maximum you want to pay and stick to it
• Work out how much you expect repairs or maintenance to cost – call a garage for a rough estimate if you’re unsure
• Start your bidding low and let the seller work up to the acceptable middle ground – if you start too high you can’t go back
• Haggling isn’t just about the price – a tank of fuel or a service can be a good negotiating tool
• Stay calm, never be confrontational and show commitment to the deal
• The seller may call to accept the deal after you’ve left
• If you can’t come to an agreement, remember there are plenty of other cars available

Haggling with new car sellers

Negotiating the best deal on a new car can save you thousands, or secure you some desirable equipment, so it’s worth pursuing.
• Know what your part-exchange is worth and haggle up the price, but remember dealers will pay ‘trade’ prices, which will be less than you’ll get by selling privately
• It can be easier to haggle at the end of the month when sales staff are close to their sales target, or before the number plate changes in March and September
• Ask for extra equipment, such as alloy wheels or air conditioning – even mats and mudflaps and a tank of fuel can be worth £150
• If you’re taking out finance, dealers may be more willing to offer discounts as they can offset the commission they’ll get from the finance lender against money off or extra equipment
• Check if a new model is about to come out – dealers will be keen to shift older stock
• Stay calm – emotions can cloud the haggle and mean you could miss out on the best deal

How Auto Trader can help: Vehicle Check and car valuation

More in-depth buying advice:

How to choose the right car:
Buying a used car | Buying a new car | Setting your budget
Comparing new and used cars | Choosing the right car
Buying an imported car | Buying a classic car

How to buy a car:
Contacting the seller | Inspecting a used car | Test driving a car
Haggling with sellers | Doing the paperwork

How to pay for your car:
Understanding car loans and finance | Checking your credit rating
Returning a car