You’ve found the car of your dreams, and it’s time to strike the deal. Dealers and some private sellers have a lot of experience negotiating, but you may not. Prepare yourself, and learn how to strike a deal on a used car!

Before you negotiate:

1. Determine what a fair price for the vehicle might be: Look at used-car pricing guides such as CUDL, Kelley Blue Book (, and NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association) Appraisal Guides (

2. Have sufficient cash or make financing arrangements with your credit union ahead of time.

3. Calculate how much you can afford based on your budget. Decide to walk out if the seller exceeds your limit.

4. Have an expert check out the car, even if you have to pay for an inspection. Organize your notes from:

* The expert
* Your test-drive
* The car’s history and maintenance.

5. Ask an experienced car owner to go with you. Agree that if this person says you should leave, you leave.

What else?

* Only agree to negotiate with a person with whom you feel comfortable;
* Look at it as a business transaction;
* Be prepared to spend at least an hour negotiating.

Don’t meet with the seller if you’re tired or hungry; that will only make it easier for the seller to get more money from you. Your endurance and a willingness to walk away from the deal are essential to getting the best price.

Are you ready? Let the negotiations begin!