How to get a good deal when buying a car

Updated: Jan 29

So, your beat-up little car is on its way out - we feel for you.

We’re probably all familiar with the many MOT and service receipts that come with keeping an old car running. That’s when you know it’s time to cut your losses and look into getting a new motor.

While buying a new car will undoubtedly leave a huge dent in your savings pot, sometimes, it’s the best thing to do.

Because it’s a pretty hefty buy, getting a new car can be a little confusing. Between the various finance options, modifications, insurance and tax, there’s a lot to wrap your head around. On top of all that, how do you actually negotiate a good deal on a car?

Do your research thoroughly

Of course, most of us will have a car in mind before we start looking. However, don’t be fooled by shiny new models or brands. Ultimately, you need to break it all down into exactly what it is you need.

If you live in a city you might want something small and eco-friendly. If you live in the country, you might need something with a bigger engine and boot capacity. Either way, knowing the specs of a car before you start looking will help you to massively narrow down your potential options.

You also need to have a rough understanding of price. Say you’ve seen a car online that you like the look of. Get yourself on other car selling websites and see what the average rate is for that vehicle based on its age and mileage. That way, you’ll know when you’re getting a good price.

Be prepared to haggle on price

A lot of people are too worried to actually haggle on the price of a car.

We’re telling you now if you don’t haggle, you could be paying potentially more than the car is actually worth.

If you’re negotiating with a private buyer, you’re less likely to have as much wiggle room on price. Plus, trying to get Karen from 15 miles away to come down on price is going to be a tough battle. If you’re getting your car, either new or used, from a dealership – that’s where you’re in luck.

Of course, any car salesperson will be trying to get as much out of you as possible. So, it’s important to hold your ground. Go in with a price in mind that you’re willing to pay for a car and stick to it. Don’t let them razzle-dazzle you with numbers which seem like a good offer.

More often than not, you’ll be able to get them down on price by a couple of grand, especially if you’re part-exchanging your old car.

Keep your cards close to your chest

Car salespeople nowadays are far less like the stereotype than you might think. While perfectly pleasant and oftentimes friendly, you may feel more inclined to let your guard down. This is where you could trip up.

There’s no need to be a dick, just play it cool and remember your price point and your ideal specs.

Ask for a few extra perks

Don’t think the game stops being played once you’ve agreed on a price.

There are still a few more options you can squeeze out of the deal. For example, ask for a full valet before you pick it up. You can also ask for car mats if the car doesn’t already have them.

Most dealerships will be willing to fill up the car with either a full tank of fuel (if they are generous) or at least halfway. This is such a good little bonus as it means you can drive your car away from the court and not need to fill it up straight away.

Check out the car’s history before signing on the dotted line

This is especially important when buying second-hand. Make sure that you’ve looked into the history of the car including its previous owners, any modifications as well as if it’s had a recent MOT and has been taxed.

There isn’t anything worse than buying a car only to find out its MOT and service are due the next month. It’s just extra money you shouldn’t have to fork out.

Getting a new car is a big change in your lifestyle. It can even help you to save money in the long run, particularly if you spend a lot of time commuting or driving around in general. Our top tip is to never be afraid of playing the game. The worst thing that can happen is someone says ‘no’. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Good luck!