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Car finance expert answers the questions on closing the best deal

Car finance is a great option for those not looking to buy a car outright, but however you’re financing your new car purchase, negotiating on the price is well worth it for ensuring you secure the best deal possible.

Knowing how to negotiate car price on a used car is all about confidence and understanding what you should be looking out for when car hunting.

To help guide you on how to confidently negotiate car price, Lucy Sherliker, Head of Customer at Zuto car finance shares her top tips.

Lucy explains: “When it comes to purchasing a new car, we all know it is  worth negotiating to ensure you get the best deal. However, many prospective buyers lack confidence when it comes to knowing how to do this effectively, and an understanding of what you should be looking out for. Improving your negotiating skills when it comes to car ownership is key, helping you secure the best car finance deal possible.”

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So, what exactly should you be keeping in mind when you negotiate car price to ensure you bag the best car finance deal?

Q: How can you best prepare for a negotiation in the car buying process?

A: Run a background check on the vehicle to understand market value

Confidence is key when it comes to entering a negotiation so ensure you have done thorough research ahead of time.

Lucy advises: “Prior to starting any conversation on price, you should run a background check on the vehicle. There are lots of sites available that will help you get a rough idea of market value which will help you to understand how reasonable the car price is.

“As well as this, you should be able to easily find the vehicle history and spot any red flags, such as any categories of damage, prior to viewing the car. Zuto will be able to run these sorts of checks for you free of charge to help give you peace of mind when questioning car suitability.”

Q: What tactics work well in the negotiation process?

A: Keep note of differences between the advertisement and viewing

But what tactics are actually most effective during a car deal negotiation?

Lucy says: “Sometimes you may find that when viewing a car, there are some things that don’t quite match the initial advertisement. Many people fail to note the original posting and specifications detailed, but it is well worth doing as this can often be a good bargaining tool.

“A common one to look out for is checking the advertised mileage vs the mileage on the car when discussing the purchase. If the car has a higher mileage than previously advertised, you should negotiate around this to ensure the deal reflects the change. Another tip is to ask for the fuel tank to be full on pick up, helping lower initial maintenance costs.”

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Q: What should you look out for when hoping to negotiate a quoted car price?

A: Any signs of minor damage, service history and availability of second key

Checking a vehicle can feel like a lengthy process, but there are certain things you’ll want to investigate before purchasing a car.

Lucy explains: “Whilst it’s important to remember that damage will not always bring the cost down if this matches the vehicle listing, it’s still worth checking for the following:

  • Scuffed alloys

  • Dents

  • Scuffs on bumpers

  • Tyre tread of less than 4mm

  • Brake wear and tear

  • Missing second key

“If the car you are interested in has any of these minor damages, I would always recommend doing your research to look into how much they would cost to repair or replace, in line with the vehicle brand and model. For example, if the car requires two new tyres, you would be looking at approximately £200 which you can then bring up with the dealer as part of negotiations.

“As well as looking out for these potential leverage points, it’s crucial you understand the car’s service history. If the car requires a service and MOT within the next few months, this is a strong negotiation spot as this would typically be costing you approximately upwards of £120 depending on the vehicle.”

Q: Are there any particular questions you should ask the car dealer when negotiating?

A: Always research and ask how long a car has been on the market

Confidence is all about knowing what questions to ask the dealer, so make sure you are asking the car dealer the most important ones.

Lucy says: “Aside from questioning the overall condition of the car – including mileage and any wear and tear – you should try and figure out how long they have had the car. If the car has been sitting there for 30 days or more, it may  be due a price reduction. You should be able to ask the car dealer for this information, but can also do your own independent research by looking through available paperwork.”

Q: Should you close a deal on your first visit or walk away?

A: Walk away – but follow up over the phone

It can be tricky to know when to walk away from a negotiation but can this actually help lower prices?

Lucy advises: “Many people struggle to know whether to walk away or close a deal when negotiating but you should never feel pressured to give a final decision in the moment. In fact, often the best deals take place following this initial negotiation, so ensure you feel comfortable and confident walking away, allowing time to consider the deal and follow up with confidence.”

If you are currently in the market for a new car and want to know how to negotiate the best price, take a look at our guide on how to negotiate a deal for a used car.

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