How to Negotiate for a Car (Even if You Suck at Negotiation)

by RJ

in Random

My truck

My truck is due for it's six month cleaning

Until now, I’ve never known how to negotiate for a car. The car I drove since the day I got my license, a black 2000 Ford F150, is the car I drive today.

In a few months, my wife and I are moving to Chicago. The plan is to sell both of our cars and get a small, late-model, fuel-efficient car (although we want to do a trial run of ZipCar).

Recently, I’ve been reading up on how to negotiate for a car. Ironically, the best tip I received¬† was from the book, The Millionaire Fastlane by M.J. DeMarco (Ironic because I wasn’t reading the book for car negotiation tips, even though the title includes the word Fastlane).

In the book, M.J. explains how he bought his brother a Lexus…

“I researched the car and determined the price I wanted to pay. I walked into the dealership with a cashier’s check and told salesman, “I have a cashier’s check for $44,000 and I want to buy that car. I need a YES or NO”

Twenty minutes later, I owned a Lexus.”

I loved the idea. With M.J.’s method you…

  • Save time, since there’s no back and forth negotiation
  • Avoid upsells
  • Avoid purchasing a more expensive car you didn’t want

As for finding out how much you should pay, I found the below articles from two of my favorite blogs helped:

How to Negotiate for a Car | Conclusion

Of course M.J.’s method for negotiating a car works if you’re paying in cash. Which if you can’t afford to pay for the car you want in cash, you can’t afford the car.

If you have any tips on how to negotiate for a car, please let me know in the comments. For many reasons, car sales are never dull.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

DavidNo Gravatar August 15, 2011 at 8:59 am

Very true, if you have the total cash amount ready/check, you’ll have a deal done that day.

New car= Invoice + $500 or $1000 depending on the brand, and how generous you’re feeling and if you’ve had a good experience ordering the car.

Used: “”, not KBB, not NADA.

CPO: “” + 2-3k for the certified (most likely 6yr/100k) warranty…

Best case scenario is that you can pick a CPO car from a private seller, seeing as how the CPO warranty stays with the car, not the seller, you can usually get a lower price from a private seller with the CPO warranty still attached to the car.

FYI: I picked a 6MT, CPO 2007 BMW E90 (sedan) 328xi from a private seller for 23k about August of last year. With ZSP (sport) ZCW (cold) ZPP (premium) packages, Logic 7, and navigation.

Good article RJ.


RJNo Gravatar August 15, 2011 at 10:25 am

Thanks David for the top regarding

I’ll admit, I’m inexperienced in this area, so not sure what the best sites are.


DavidNo Gravatar August 15, 2011 at 9:05 am

sorry forgot to include that it had 44k on the clock…


ScottNo Gravatar August 15, 2011 at 7:20 pm

Hi not sure about america but here in australia the car dealers get a slice of the financing that they organise so paying cash is not as greater bargaining chip as the dealer would prefer to make a profit on selling you the car and also an ongoing percentage of the finance payments. I do agreee that the cashiers check is a great idea for you as it avoids upsells etc.

Thanks for a great site, always through provoking and interesting.


RJNo Gravatar August 16, 2011 at 11:56 am

Same here in the U.S. Dealers make a lot of money off the financing.

The problem is, it’s not worth it to make finance payments just so you can use it as a bargaining chip. You’ll save yourself more money by paying in cash.


BobNo Gravatar August 24, 2011 at 11:00 am

RJ – I love the idea – I am definitely going to try this next time – thanks for sharing!


RJNo Gravatar August 24, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Thanks Bob! Glad you liked it.


JeffNo Gravatar August 28, 2011 at 8:23 am

I would strongly recommend reading an article called “The confessions of a car sales man” I think the author updated the content in 2009. I found it very powerful information and I no longer feel like I have been taken advantage of when buying cars.


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