Cars parked in a row.

Understanding the Used Car Market

To understand the UK’s used car market, you need to know about factors that affect car prices. We’ll explain how these factors affect your decisions and why buying a used car can save you money. We’ll talk about market trends, car values, and tips for getting a good deal.

Preparing for Negotiation

Before you start negotiating, make sure your finances are in good shape. We’ll give you a detailed guide on how to get ready.

First, create a clear budget that matches your finances – not sure how to get started? Download our budget planner here.

Two people shake hands and exchange car keys in a car showroom.

How Are You Going to Pay for Your Car?

When it comes to buying a car, you have a variety of options to consider:

  1. Cash Purchase: Buying a used car with cash means immediate full ownership, no monthly payments, and no interest charges. However, it requires a significant upfront payment.
  2. Car Finance Hire Purchase (HP): HP involves a down payment and fixed monthly instalments, eventually leading to full ownership. It’s suitable for budget-conscious buyers seeking predictability.
  3. Car Finance Personal Contract Purchase (PCP): PCP offers lower monthly payments, akin to leasing. At the term’s end, choose to buy, trade, or return the car. Ideal for those wanting flexibility and frequent vehicle changes.
  4. Personal Loan: A personal loan provides a lump sum for an outright car purchase, with interest rates based on your credit score and lender. It offers flexibility but requires monthly loan payments.

Ultimately, the best car finance option varies from person to person, and most individuals find car finance to be the most convenient route for their specific needs.

Want some help calculating your car finance budget? Check out our car finance calculator here.

Next, find the right used car that fits what you want. Finally, check out different ways to pay for it so you’re ready for negotiations. Being prepared is the key to success in buying a used car.

Gathering Negotiation Tools

Unlock the secrets to getting the best deal when buying a car, whether it’s negotiating a new purchase or securing a great deal on a used vehicle. We provide you with the skills and tools to research a used car’s history thoroughly. Dive into the art of inspecting a potential purchase for hidden issues that might influence your decision. Discover how to leverage vehicle history reports, giving you valuable insights that can be your ace in negotiations. With these essential tools, you’ll approach car buying and negotiation with confidence and success.

A couple shake hands with a person.

Negotiation Strategies

Building Rapport with Sellers

Building rapport with car dealership salespeople is a valuable step in the car-buying process.

To establish a positive connection:

  • Start by being friendly and approachable.
  • Show genuine interest in their knowledge and experience, asking questions about the vehicles and their recommendations.
  • Active listening and respectful communication are key; let them share insights and build trust.
  • Maintaining a polite and patient demeanour can go a long way in creating a pleasant interaction.

Ultimately, a good rapport can lead to a smoother negotiation and a more satisfying car-buying experience.

Negotiating Price

When negotiating the price of a used car at a dealership, start by doing your homework. Research the car’s market value and understand its condition and history. Set a clear budget and be prepared to walk away if the deal doesn’t meet your criteria.

Engage in a friendly and respectful negotiation, focusing on the total out-the-door price, including fees and taxes.

Don’t rush; take your time to consider offers and counteroffers. Be confident but willing to compromise. By following these steps, you’ll be well-equipped to get the best deal on a used car while negotiating with ease and success.

Exploring Additional Incentives

When purchasing a used car from a dealership, don’t limit your negotiations to just the vehicle’s price. Explore additional incentives that can enhance your deal.

Start by discussing warranties and service contracts to protect your investment. Ask about add-ons like free maintenance, extended warranties, or upgrades.

Inquire about financing options, including interest rates and terms, to ensure you secure the best deal. By considering these aspects in your negotiation, you’ll maximise the value of your used car purchase and walk away with a comprehensive, cost-effective package.

Closing the Deal

  1. Show You’re Serious: Let them know you’re ready to buy if the terms work.
  2. Ask for the Deal: Just ask to seal the deal.
  3. Use Some Quiet: After making your offer, stay quiet to encourage their response.
  4. Talk Financing: Mention pre-approved financing for negotiating power – want to find out if you’re pre-approved for finance with Marsh? It takes just 30 seconds and doesn’t impact your credit score.
  5. Mention Other Offers: Politely share if you have better offers from elsewhere.
  6. Be Ready to Walk: Don’t hesitate to leave if the terms don’t match.
  7. Close the Deal Swiftly: Once you agree, finish the paperwork efficiently.
  8. Keep It Polite: Stay friendly and courteous throughout the process.


Why should I consider buying a used car instead of a new one?
  • Used cars are often more affordable.
  • You can avoid the rapid depreciation that new cars experience.
  • A wider variety of models and options are available in the used car market.
  • You won’t have to wait months to enjoy your new ride!
How can I determine the fair market value of a used car?
  • Research online using tools like Kelley Blue Book, Autotrader, or local classified ads.
  • Compare prices for similar makes, models, and conditions in your area.
  • Consider factors like mileage, age, and overall condition when assessing value.
How can I prepare for negotiation with the car dealership?
  • Set a budget and stick to it.
  • Research the car’s history, including accidents and maintenance records.
  • Determine your ideal price and any additional features or warranties you’d like.
What should I look for during a used car inspection?
  • Check for signs of wear, rust, or damage on the exterior and interior.
  • Inspect the tires, brakes, and suspension.
  • Test drive the car to assess its performance and handling.
Can I negotiate the price of my trade-in vehicle when buying a used car?
  • Yes, you can negotiate the trade-in value of your current vehicle.
  • Research the value of your trade-in beforehand to ensure a fair deal.
Is it advisable to have a third-party mechanic inspect a used car before purchase?
  • Yes, having an independent mechanic inspect the car can uncover hidden issues and provide peace of mind.
  • It’s a wise investment, especially for older or higher mileage used cars.
How can I negotiate effectively with the car dealership?
  • Start with a reasonable but lower offer than your budget.
  • Be respectful and polite during the negotiation process.
  • Be willing to walk away if the dealership isn’t willing to meet your terms.
Are there specific times of the year or days when it's better to negotiate for a used car?
  • Dealerships may offer better deals at the end of the month or during holiday sales events.
Should I consider purchasing additional warranties or service contracts?
  • It depends on the age and reliability of the car.
  • Evaluate the cost of the warranty versus potential repair expenses.
  • Negotiate the terms of any additional coverage with the seller.
  • Some car finance companies allow you to add the cost of warranties and service contracts into your finance agreement, which gives you peace of mind and keeps upfront costs low.
What should I do after negotiating a deal and before finalising the purchase?
  • Carefully review the sales contract and ensure it matches the negotiated terms.
  • Consider having a mechanic inspect the car one final time.
  • Verify all required paperwork and complete the title transfer process.
What rights do I have as a consumer when buying a used car in the UK?
  • In the UK, consumers have legal rights under the Consumer Rights Act, including the right to expect the car to be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, and as described.
  • You also have the right to reject the car if it has a significant fault within 30 days of purchase.
What should I do if I encounter a problem with a used car shortly after purchase?
  • Contact the dealership immediately to discuss the issue.
  • If the problem is substantial, understand your rights under consumer protection laws and consider seeking legal advice if necessary.