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Cut through the car-buying fog

By Sue Baker 29/01/2015

Stay calm and in control with these tips for buying a car.

If you fear a trip to the car sale lot the same way others fear a trip to the dentist, it can be hard to negotiate a good deal. Stay calm and in control with these tips for buying a car.

Arm yourself with knowledge. Swot up on as much information as you can about the car you’re considering: the kit it has, the price you should reasonably expect to pay, how much the same or a very similar model costs elsewhere. Know what is available at other dealers, and how the car you like compares with rival models.

Don’t be afraid to haggle. Every salesperson has wriggle-room, the profit gap between what the car cost and what he wants to sell it for. Don’t be shy about asking for a lower price. Then try for some ‘sweeteners’ – items such as car mats and other extras that could be included for free to secure the deal. They are valuable additions to you, but cost the salesperson below the retail rate.

Keep a wider picture in mind. Trying to buy the car you want can unhelpfully narrow your focus. Remember that this is not the only car – there are hundreds more out there potentially waiting to be found.

Don’t let yourself be worn down. If you feel you are being browbeaten, take a break and ask for a coffee while you think about it. Or tell him/her you’ll look at other options, and walk away. Nothing sharpens a salesperson’s willingness to improve the deal like the prospect of a lost sale.

This Money Matters post aims to be informative and engaging. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions. Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this post. Some links may take you to another Sainsbury's Bank page. All information in this post was correct at date of publication.