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Here’s how to negotiate with a used car dealer according to Wheeler Dealer Mike Brewer

Time 7 months ago

Buying a new or used car can be a bit daunting for the uninitiated – and who could blame them?

With so many bits of advice about haggling and getting the best deal floating around, it can be impossible to know whether you’re paying the right price for your next car.

In this exclusive video, we’ve asked world-famous used car dealer and host of Wheeler Dealers Mike Brewer to give his top tips and tricks for getting the best deal on a used car.



You might’ve noticed, but a few things have changed in the world recently – and that’s just in the last 12 months…

Car dealers have changed too, and all those old cliches about how to get the best deal aren’t just untrue, sometimes they might even hurt your chances at getting a decent price for your next car.

So in these troubling times, I’ve taken it upon myself to lay out a few ground rules for anyone wanting the most bang for their buck at a dealership – whether it’s big or small.

Don’t assume that paying cash will get you a deal

Don’t get me wrong, us dealers love going home with a wad of cash in our back pockets – but it’s not the deal clincher you might imagine it to be.

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These days, most dealers will do you a better deal if you’re buying your new or used car on finance. That’s because finance companies often give dealers a bit of commission for signing up new customers.

That’s only the case if you apply for finance via the dealership itself, of course – sorting your own out at home won’t get you a discount with your friend at the dealership.

Shop around for the best deal on your part exchange

Keep this to yourselves, but dealers are struggling to get hold of decent used cars to sell at the moment…

With everyone in lockdown, and public transport not looking too appealing anymore, everyone and their mother are after a set of wheels at the moment – and a bit like loo roll earlier in the year, it feels like there’s not enough to go around.

So, if your old motor’s in a reasonable condition, it’s worth using that as a bit of leverage for a good deal. And if you can, take it to a dealer who sells similar things.

The local VW dealer might not want to put your tasty Subaru Impreza or mint Land Rover Defender on their forecourt, but find a specialist who’ll take it off your hands and you’ll be laughing.

Be honest with the dealer

Above all, us dealers don’t like wasting time and playing games. If you’ve turned up and you know you want to leave in a new car, bleedin’ tell us!

If a dealer knows you’re after a new set of wheels, not just a bit of window shopping, they’ll be far happier to do you a deal.

Let the dealer know that you’re willing to do a deal today, and tell them what you want before you sign on the dotted line – whether it’s a bit of money off, a better deal on that part exchange… or a nice set of floor mats.

Do your research

Knowledge is power – so if you want to come out on top, do your research before you wander onto a dealer’s forecourt.

Before you go anywhere, do some Googling and get an idea of the car you’re after – the make, model, engine and (if you’re picky) the trim level. You can have a few different models in mind, but best to keep things simple.

Once you’re sure you want a BMW 1 Series, or Mazda CX-5, or Ford Mondeo 1.5 Ecoboost Titanium X with the optional leather, start shopping around on the likes of Auto Trader or Motors.co.uk for the best car and price.

When you’re happy you’ve found the best example – whether it’s the cheapest, or the lowest mileage, or the colour you fancy – it’s time to head on down to the dealership to make your next steps.

Don’t waste the dealer’s time by telling them there’s another car down the road for £500 less – he or she will (politely) suggest you go and buy that one instead.


Choose the right time to buy

Dealerships aren’t much different from other businesses: if it’s the end of the financial quarter or year, you might find they’re more willing to shift stock for reduced price.

Dealerships that also sell new cars are a bit more inclined to do this – car companies give them targets of how many new models they need to shift by the end of the quarter, and since their forecourts don’t have infinite amounts of space, those cars have got to go somewhere…

All dealers – big and small – have to close their books at the end of the month though, so if you can wait, it’s worth hanging on until then to see if they’re willing to budge on price.


Buying a car doesn’t have to be stressful or scary. Just remember, at the end of the day dealers are human beings – they’re just trying to put a roof over their heads, not get one over on you.

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Above all, be friendly, be honest, and be prepared before you go shopping for a new motor. Do all that, and you won’t go far wrong.

Our Used Car Award winners are dealers who do just that so if you know of a good one get nominating now

Nominations have been re-opened, and we’ll be revealing the winners on this very website early in the new year.

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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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