How to Buy a Car for the Best Price


When shopping for a car, whether new or used, it’s only natural to wonder if you’re really getting the best deal you can, or if you’re overpaying. Although nothing can remove all these anxieties from the car buying experience, we’ve compiled a few helpful tips to ensure you get the best price possible when buying your new car.

Toby Schultz
3-minute read

Be willing to travel:

When you have a specific vehicle in mind and you want to get it sooner rather than later, a great way to save some money is to expand your search to include other geographical areas. For a really hard to find vehicle, you might even consider boarding a plane to another state and driving the car back. Just keep in mind though that most upper midwest and northeast states all tend to salt the roads in the winter, which is detrimental to the body of the car, as well as the suspension system. Buying from warmer climates, such as the west coast and the southwest, are often your best bet.

Be willing to wait:

If you’re looking for a specific vehicle that’s proving difficult to find, consider if you’re in a position to wait. Sometimes when buying a car, timing is everything. New inventory is added to dealerships and new postings are made online every day. Check all of your search venues on a daily basis, or consider subscribing for emails once a vehicle matching your requests gets listed. Spring is a great time to buy a new used car, because many people use tax returns to buy a new car, and will need to sell or trade in their old car.

Be open about specific details:

It will be a lot easier to find a good deal on a specific make and model that you want if you’re flexible on the options and features. Having your heart set on things like a specific exterior or interior color, seat heaters, or lighting options only makes it more difficult to find a great deal. If you’re shopping for a luxury vehicle however, you don’t necessarily have to give up any of the premium features, as they usually come standard. With these vehicles, it’s mostly visual details, such as paint color and condition that you may have to be flexible on.

Price shop others to better negotiate:

One of the absolute best ways to get a great deal, is to price shop several different options that meet your criteria. If most examples of a specific car sell for $10,000, and you find one exactly as you want for $12,000, then you may be able to negotiate your way down to $11,000, which might be a great deal given the options. If you’re not especially confident in your negotiation skills, you can always brush up on them by reading online.

See Also: 5 Must-Have Tips for Buying a Used Car

Expand your search to include similar models:

Sometimes it’s just too difficult to find the exact car you want, at a price you can afford or are willing to pay. The good news is that for almost every vehicle out there, exotics excluded, there is something comparable that can usually be had for less money. Find comparable models and research the price of common services and repairs. Expand your vehicle search to include these models and you might be surprised at some of the great deals you come across.

Finding the right car is not always easy, but it doesn’t have to be difficult either. Follow the guidelines listed above, along with your common sense and intuition, and you’ll be well positioned to get the best deal on your next vehicle. Just be sure to save yourself the hassle of buying a lemon by having a pre-purchase inspection performed by a qualified technician.


Toby Schultz is the Senior Automotive Editor at YourMechanic.com. YourMechanic delivers mobile car repair by certified mechanics in over 700 U.S. cities. Their top-rated technicians can perform over 600 services at your home or office and will even answer your questions online.