How should I negotiate?

Knowing how to negotiate when buying a car is not a dark art and it shouldn’t be peppered with jargon. Here's our 10 golden negotiating rules.

Our 10 Golden Rules

Be firm on your budget

Know how much you can afford and be prepared to stick to your guns to get the right deal. The advertised price for most cars is only really the starting point for negotiation.

Have your finances sorted

Being ready to buy rather than just window shopping shows the dealer you are serious and they will be much keener to offer a better deal to secure your custom.

Have all the information

Knowledge is power, so know the exact model, engine, trim and work out the price in advance. You can use car makers’ websites for this or others such as, Take printouts and do your research by looking at prices elsewhere to your preferred dealer, to see what sort of discounts are possible.

Buy at the right time

It’s worth waiting till the end of the month before visiting a showroom as sales staff will be motivated to meet their targets and therefore are more likely to give a better deal.

Research the valuation

With a used car, look online at classified adverts to get a feel for the price of similar cars to the one you want buy. You can also check out various online valuations using a car’s registration and mileage.

Be polite but firm

Whoever you are negotiating with, whether it’s a salesperson or a private individual, always be polite and friendly, and be realistic about the discount you expect. Be firm about what you want to pay for the car and don’t be swayed by a dealer trying to offer you alternative finance deals or an alternative model at a different price.

Don’t feel pressured

Be prepared to look further afield. Many buyers end up at their local dealer for convenience, but casting your search wider can net you a bargain.

Don’t reveal too much

Dealers will often ask you what your maximum monthly budget is to repay finance. Don’t give a figure as the dealer could use this to their advantage. Much better to ask what’s the best deal on offer and what finance deals the salesman can provide.

Be aware of tactics

If you don’t think you are getting a good price and want to negotiate further, ask the manager to join the conversation. It is always good to make sure both the salesman and the manager understand your requirements, so they’ll both be committed to getting you the best deal.

Be prepared to walk away

When you’re in the dealer’s showroom, they know you are serious about buying but don’t be a pushover as you are the one holding the purse strings: make the dealer work for you, not the other way around.

Extra Easy Buyers' Checklist.

Why not download and print our Extra Easy Buyers' Checklist (PDF, 1.76 MB) to help you know what to look for and to get the best deal.


Taking a test drive is the most exciting part of buying a car and your chance to make sure it’s perfect for you.

Know about the test driveWhat should I know about the test drive?


Buying a car is an exciting time and should be an enjoyable process. To make sure it’s as pleasurable as possible, it’s worth carrying out some simple and easy checks before you pay.

About pre-purchase checksWhat should my pre-purchase checks be?