How to Haggle When Buying a Car

How to Haggle When Buying a Car - The art of “the haggle” has always been a huge part of buying a car. Prices on vehicles, both new and used, are flexible– it’s up to the car salesman to get you to pay as much as he possibly can. Learning how to haggle with the salesman can make a huge difference in what you decide to pay before driving off the lot with your new vehicle.

Haggling, like most things, is an art. It’s always important to remember that most salespeople have the upper hand– they are professional negotiators and know all the tricks of the trade in getting people to pay big time. I think this is best illustrated in an episode of Seinfeld, entitled The Dealership. Jerry, George and Kramer are at the Saab dealership where Jerry is prepared to purchase a new car. Elaine’s boyfriend, Puddy, is a salesman there and has told Jerry he’s going to get him an insider deal, to which George responds:

“Puddy’s just going to give you the car, huh? You’ll see. First they stick you with the undercoating, rust-proofing, dealer prep. Suddenly you’re on your back like a turnip!”

How to Haggle When Buying a Car

George is convinced he’s a master haggler in many other situations, although he rarely is able to succeed in getting what he wants. But you can! Let’s take a look at what you need to know when haggling for a car.

According to ABC news, a good haggler can save 10-15% on the purchase of a car! Not too shabby. There are many elements to haggling successfully, which I have sourced from other professional’s experiences. When the time comes for me to buy a car, I’m sure that I’m going to follow the advice on How to Haggle When Buying a Car that I’ve collected below:


Make sure that you know what kind of car you’re looking for and what the price is listed as on along with other dealerships. You need leverage, and being well-researched in this department gives you a huge advantage. Ignorance is a salespersons best friend.

How to Haggle When Buying a Car
How to Haggle When Buying a Car


The opening price sets the stage for the entire negotiation. This is where you get to come in with a counter price and really begin the haggling process. Use the information you gathered from Edmunds or other sources to help support your argument.


Chances are that the salesperson needs to check with their manager every time you discuss a new price, etc. By leaving you sitting there for long periods of time, they’re establishing power. It’s important that you get up and move around every time they leave to let them know that you’re not just waiting around for them, but could leave at any moment.


It’s good to have somebody there with you that can point out all the flaws of the vehicle, how overpriced it is, etc. Basically you need a George Costanza, it will make it seem like you as a customer are listening to both the sales points as well as someone telling you to leave it all behind– and could go either way.


Don’t settle right there and then. As soon as you’ve done some haggling on the car, make sure that you let them know that you’re going to continue to shop around. Leaving the lot gives you lots of clout– if they have your number and the price on the table is still reasonable, they’ll call you back. Once they call you back you have another opportunity to lower their latest offer by a bit more. Chances are they’ll bite.

How to Haggle When Buying a Car

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