Small french bulldog puppy enjoying the breeze hanging outside a car window

At Phil Long Dealerships, we believe that knowledge is power, which is why we want to teach you how to negotiate used car prices. Before heading into any dealership, you should do your homework on a used car purchase. This allows you to ensure that you pay a fair price for the vehicle you receive. While we aim to make our used car buying process as simple as possible, these are skills you can use in many avenues of your life.

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Negotiate Asking Price, Monthly Payments, Loan Terms & Trade-In Value

There's more to just negotiating than just the price. While it's valuable to negotiate used car prices, consider some other ways you can save money. For example, have you thought about negotiating the monthly auto payment or the length of the used car loan? Both of these terms are flexible, especially if the dealer offers financing. Furthermore, it's possible to negotiate the trade-in value of your vehicle with some dealers. It never hurts to try and get a few more dollars on your trade-in.

Before You Negotiate Used Car Prices Determine the Following:

  • Want vs. Need: Start with figuring out what your wants are vs. your needs. While you may want a sunroof, is it something you would live without to get the price you need? 
  • Trade-In Value: You also want to research the used car value and your trade-in value in advanced. Resources such as Kelly Blue Book help you to understand what each vehicle is worth, and what you should expect to pay. Curious? Use this Value Your Trade tool.
  • Your Down Payment: From there, you want to know how much of a down payment you can give up. Anytime you make a used car purchase, it's valuable to put as much money down as possible. This lowers your monthly payment and helps you to retain resale value.
  • Credit Score: Before you negotiate a used car, you also want to know what your credit score is. This determines how much you'll pay monthly. Thankfully, at Phil Long Dealerships, we can still offer great deals with a credit score around 500 as long as you have a down payment or sufficient trade-in. Credit Karma is a great app that can help you determine your credit score before heading to the dealership.

Shop Used Car Deals

If you don't need a car immediately, it's best to wait until there are holiday sales or special deals happening. After all, it's much easier on you as the consumer and the used car dealer to negotiate used car prices when the prices are already low. Check with Phil Long Dealerships to find out what used car sales are coming up and prepare in advance to get the deal you've been waiting for. Researching used car deals are a great bargaining chip for price match programs as well.

Compare Salvaged & Rebuilt to Used Cars

It's helpful to understand the different categories given to used cars. There are three great categories that can help you further negotiate used car prices and get the best deal.

  • Salvaged Cars - this car was totaled by the insurance company because of extensive damage. It's your cheapest car, but often not worth the hassle.
  • Rebuilt Cars - this is a vehicle that was rebuilt and repaired after it was salvaged. Often, it contains lingering problems from the initial wreck.
  • Used Cars - you will pay more for this than the other two options, but it will be in sound working order, especially when purchased from a reputable dealership. Financing is possible on used cars, but the rate is subject to your credit score. Insurance on a used car tends to be cheaper than with a new car.

Compare Local Used Car Dealerships

Before you start to negotiate used car prices, you want to shop around all the used car dealerships close to you. Some lots have a larger selection of used vehicles and are more flexible with negotiations. With Phil Long Dealerships, you can browse all of our used car inventory online. If you don't see the car you want, we can get it.

Always Test Drive Before You Buy

Smiling happy dog with head out the car window floppy ears blowing in the wind

Once you find the used car purchase you want to make, it's time for a test drive. You must pay close attention to several areas during the drive to ensure the car is right for you. Start with paying attention to the idle. Is it smooth and does everything sound okay? This is an indication of how the engine runs, so you want to take notice of anything that seems off. Make sure you have a good view from the driver's seat. You don't want to drive your daily commute and not be able to see properly. See: What to Check When Buying Used Cars.

Furthermore, you should try out all of the controls to ensure they are comfortable. Finally, try out the braking and handling. Try to drive it on streets similar to where you'll spend your time. This gives you a feel for how the car behaves on comparable terrain and conditions. You may like the way the car looks but if you don't like the way the car drives then it's a no go.

Negotiate Manual Used Cars, Not Just Automatic

If you enjoy driving a stick shift, you can negotiate used car prices much better. Many of these cars sit on the lot longer because not as many people know how to drive them. Not only will you be able to negotiate a used car with a manual transmission, but you can have a lot of fun driving it. Expect to pay less, but remember to look out for clutch issues.

Never Impulse Buy

The key to negotiation during the used car buying process is to take your time. Don't make impulse decisions and think through your plan carefully. It never hurts to sleep on the decision for a night before committing. You could get lucky and buy the perfect used car off an impulse at the perfect price, but those chances are very slim.

Buy a Used Car You Can Afford to Own

It doesn't matter what used car deal you get if you can't afford it. Don't be fooled into thinking that you can buy more car than you should. Make sure to research the cost of ownership as well. You might get the best deal on used luxury cars as far as purchase price but if it's going to strain you financially to repair or maintain this car then you should consider other options. Stick to your budget and be willing to give up a few things to meet your financial goals. If there are things you aren't willing to give up to meet your financial goals, waiting another month or so to save up some additional money to remain inside your budget might be a smart move as well.

Don't Be Afraid to Walk Away

Finally, if you aren't satisfied when you negotiate used car prices, don't be scared to walk away. You should be completely happy with your purchase at every step. Be vocal about what you like and what you dislike. If it gets to a point where negotiations have stalled and your not satisfied, don't get roped into a purchase you're not behind 100%. At Phil Long Dealerships, we price our used cars to sell. That's because we don't want more hassle for the used car purchase than necessary or any additional stress on the consumer. We value your time and do everything in our power to find the vehicle that fits your needs. We offer the best used car selections and have superior financing options. Stop by and check out our used car inventory today!

Used Cars for Sale at Phil Long

With locations all throughout Colorado, even one in New Mexico, Phil Long has one of the largest inventory of used vehicles with the best prices around. Browse our inventory today and don't hesitate to call us with any questions.

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Phil Long Dealerships

1212A Motor City Dr
Directions Colorado Springs, CO 80905

  • Sales: (719) 387-5744
  • Service: (719) 387-7037
  • Finance: (719) 387-7162

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