How to Get the Best Price on a Used Car

November 12th, 2019 by

If you’re wondering how to get the best price on a used car, we’ve got just the guide for you.

Getting a decent deal on a used car is great when it happens, but how do you know what kind of shape the thing’s going to be in when you start driving it?

The truth is that you can’t know until you’ve already bought it. It might drive alright when you do a test run or two, but in a couple of weeks or months, you might be dealing with a litany of issues that could cost you hundreds of dollars.

In this post, we’re going to tell you how to get the best price on a used car that will actually run. It’s not worth your time, effort, and money if you have to pay big money on car repairs, so you’ve got to do your due diligence beforehand.

Car shopping can be overwhelming. It’s a big decision with a lot of money on the line, so you need to get it right. We’re here to help.


Learning How to Get the Best Price On a Used Car

Most of the work involved with buying a used car is in what you do before you start contacting private sellers and dealerships. Here, we’ll show you how to do the right kind of research so that you’re only test-driving viable options when the time comes to buy.


Do Lots of Research

If you’re going to get the best price on a car, you’ve got to do tons of research before you start looking. You should always have some idea of the makes, models, and years that you’re going to be considering. Don’t go into the search blind.

Buying a used car is a completely different beast than buying new. You can’t get your heart set on something because you might not find the exact vehicle that you want. It’s good to give yourself several options so that you’re never too disappointed by what you find.

When you’ve narrowed your focus a little bit, start perusing the market, not just in your area, but all over. Having a really good idea of what your preferred vehicles typically go for will help you down the line when you’re negotiating a sale.

The other major thing you should be researching is what the common issues are with each vehicle. Knowing what problems might arise in a given car will help you, not only with negotiation but with narrowing your focus even more.


Figure Out Financing Beforehand

It’s good practice to be ready to buy when the time comes, so get your finances sorted out before you even start looking. You don’t want to run into any financial issues when you’re about to close a deal with someone.

A full line franchise dealership will be able to do all your financial needs right in the dealership, going this way you don’t need to go to your financial institution or use a line of credit. Most full line dealerships even have easy access to payment calculators for your convenience.

If you’ve got the cash, that’s great, but most people will probably have to arrange to get a small loan or line of credit with their financial institution in order to have the funds to buy. Just make sure you do all of this before you start looking, that way you can have a budget and stick to it.


Consider All of Your Options

Once you’ve secured your funds, you’ll be ready to start searching for your next car. One of the best pieces of advice we can give is to keep your options open and leave no stone unturned. The best deals can come from anywhere.

Sifting through all of the different car buying outlets will give you the full scope of what’s available around you. Dealerships will have the most reliable vehicles, but private sellers and auctions might have the best deals.

You might even want to consider looking outside your direct geographical area to expand your options. Sometimes taking a few hours out of your day to drive somewhere else will pay off later.


Look For Deals, But Don’t Rely on Them

Obviously, finding a great deal is the preferred way of buying a car. It’s important to look for deals, but don’t make that the sole component of your search. A good deal on a car now could always mean big time repairs down the road.

If you find two cars that you like but one is much more expensive, don’t rule it out. Test drive both of them and if you’ve got more faith in the pricier one, it’s probably worth the extra cost to have a better vehicle.

You should always ask what car maintenance they have completed in the past and if they have any records to prove the repairs have been done, be wary of anyone who doesn’t have any records as you might be walking into trouble.


Understand Costs

Before you start negotiating with the dealership or private seller, give yourself a little education in what’s negotiable and what isn’t. Typically, things like registration fees, taxes, and documentation fees aren’t negotiable, so don’t bother getting into that.

Instead, focus on the actual price of the car and things like delivery charges, advertising fees, and refurbishment costs because that’s just a byproduct of selling a car.



Entering a negotiation with a private seller is way different than entering one with a dealership. The private seller is someone like you that may or may not know that much about cars. They just want to move on from their vehicle and make some money off of it.

For that reason, it’s easier to negotiate with a private seller. Keep your guard up, do a thorough test drive and don’t be shy about pointing out things that concern you about the vehicle. There’s no need to be confrontational about it, but don’t be a pushover either.

Negotiating with a dealership is going to be easier. They know what the car is worth and they’ve set a specific price because of that. That being said, most reputable dealerships disclose all repairs and potential issues to you. You also have someone to call back if there is an issue down the road, a private seller will ignore your calls or change their phone number.

The research that you did at the outset will come in handy in the negotiations. If you stay firm on what you’re willing to spend, they might bend to your will because they want to make the sale. If you’re close enough to the asking price, it’s probably more worth it for them to make the sale than to be firm.


Buy the Right Car

Finding the right vehicle should always take precedence over getting a cheap vehicle. However, there’s no reason that you can’t get a good price on a car that you’ll love for years to come. Do your research and try to enjoy the shopping part of it all.

Now that you know how to get the best price on a used car, get out there and start searching. Visit our site at Viking Motors to view our collection of new and used GMC, Chevy, and plenty of other makes and models.

All of our cars come with a 150-point inspection and a manufacturer’s warranty so you can rest easy that you’ll be leaving our dealership with a safe and affordable vehicle.