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How much can I bargain down the cost of a used car?

edited August 2011 in General Discussion
I want to spend around $13,000 on a used car...with hopefully around $3,000 in trade-in value for my old car.

How much can I bargain down the cost of a certified used-Honda?

can I bring it down from $13,500? $14,000?

what kinda things should I say and do to accomplish this?

thanks guys.


  • certified used Honda? Good luck with that.

    No to be snide or rude, but trying to bargain down a used Honda's price, especially CPO, is like trying to stop the rise and fall of the tides. Used cars are now commanding higher prices than new ones in several instances, try and get a salesman to part from THAT.

    Depending on what car you're looking at, you might consider a new one instead.
  • You must be armed with at least the NADA and Kelly Blue Book prices for the used car and your trade. Otherwise you have no case. The dealer will tell you that "we don't go by those prices"; will have his own source. Let the horse trading begin.

    One of the weapons in your possession is to slowly and reluctantly walk away on a positive note if the price seems unreasonable so you can come back to bargain again.

    There are many used cars for sale. If you want to lock in on a brand before you even begin, you will need to shop a lot more to find the best price. With an open mind regarding brands and with plenty of shopping, you will eventually find a "Steal" and you will know it when you see it.
  • Blue Book value for my old car in "fair" condition, is $3,250. I'll be happy if I can get $3,000 for it.

    I want to spend no more than $200 a month. I have great credit and was already offered a 2.98% interest rate through Chase.

    I've been looking at the websites for more than 10 Honda dealers in my area...and I've walked away from two dealers who advertised a car as being for sale but when I got there it turns out the car was already sold. So I know I can walk away. :)
  • You are trying to buy a car in the worst way -- never talk $/month payment or what your trade in is worth.
    1. Decide what make and model you want.
    2. Research the Internet to find what they are selling for (, autotrader, craigslist, nada, kbb, etc.)
    3. Drive as many as you can and find the best one. A one-owner used car with all the service records is worth more than a car on the buy here pay here lot bought at auction. Want a used Hummer -- take $10k off book value. Want a barely used Prius, pay $5k over.
    4. Negotiate the best price
    5. Sell your car on craigslist.

    Read this article first:
  • Another difficulty you will face is that apparently these cars are selling close to what they are being advertised for. So it would be difficult to talk them down unless they are high on drugs. Also if you are going to finance, the rates for used cars are higher and if you are looking at the newer used cars, then you might end up paying more than just buying new.
    I agree with private sale of you trade in car.
  • edited August 2011
    Don't be impressed with certified Honda from a car dealer. It just means that it is a low mileage trade in or off lease car they feel they more confidence in. If you are willing to look for a car from a private sale with the same mileage and sell your car privately instead trading with a dealer you will save thousands that way. Work through a dealer and you pay profit to the dealership on both your trade in and your new car.

    BTW, You will NOT get a fair condition price from a dealer unless the cost of the new car is high to make up for it. He will though. Trade in value is always much lower then your expected 3000 dollars.
  • How much can I bargain down the cost of a used car?

    Each car you find will answer this question differently. It's worth rereading Wha Who's excellent advice.

    You need to figure out what is a fair or good or great price for each car you're looking at as a possible purchase. Some cars are drastically overpriced and have lots of negotiation built in. Rarely, you'll find a great deal that's fairly priced or an outright great deal.

    I recently bought a GM certified used car (15 month-old Impala, 10,000 miles) that was priced at $16995, put on a special sale a few weeks later at $14995. I tried to get the price down more because I really wanted to spend $14000 max, although the sale price was very fair. I walked and they never called back. A couple weeks later, I tracked the car (online) as it moved to another GM dealer lot (a different town) owned by the same owner. I called and asked if they could knock some money off. They said probably not, but the owner was coming in later that day and they'd ask. Next day, I bought it for $14000 cash.

    Other used cars I've found, even on dealer lots, were priced very fairly and I didn't haggle much at all because I didn't want to miss out. Some were in exceptional condition and on one, I got the dealer to replace the timing belt (due soon) and water pump and a couple of other items free of charge.

    I wouldn't put a lot of stock in thinking "certified pre-owned" means the car is necessarily in better condition, but depending on the age and miles, the warranty that comes with "certified" is sometimes fantastic. I got the balance of 60 month / 100,000 mile drivetrain warranty and the bumper-to-bumper warranty was extended to 48 months / 48,000 miles. This keeps any possible buyer's remorse in check.

    Whatever you do, I'd make sure the car is professionally checked (unless you're up to it) for any accident/collision repair. I don't buy those cars.

    Do your homework. Look at several (many) cars to learn what a good deal looks like. Figure out what's fair or a good deal or a great deal and then buy or leave your phone number and walk away.

    What model and model-year is this vehicle and how many miles on it ? What is the "certified" warranty that's included ?

  • edited August 2011
    Just know that you're buying a used car at a time when prices are very high for used cars because of lack of supply and high demand. As others have said, getting the right price really depends on knowing what that price is, which requires you to look at a number of cars. One $13k car might be a bargain, another overpriced.
  • >Blue Book value for my old car in "fair" condition, is $3,250. I'll be happy if I can get $3,000 for it.

    No dealer is going to give you anything even close to BB value on your trade in. You'll be lucky to get WHOLESALE value. They have to make money somewhere and they aren't going to buy it for what they MIGHT be able to sell it for (unless the "new" car price is inflated enough to cover the old one). You'll be better off trying to sell privately if you need to maximize the amount you're going to get on the old car...
  • Look at

    You can get a good value of what a dealer is going to give you for your car.

    If they give you OVER that price then they are just playing numbers games.

    Sell your vehicle outright..and you'll be better off.
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