How do you go about buying a car on AutoTrader to get the best deal?

What % off the advertised price could I possibly get? What’s the best way to do a deal? Ring them up and ask about it? Go to the dealer and pretend I’m not really interested so they’ll do their best to convince me by lowering the price? Totally new to buying cars so any advice appreciated, thanks.

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4 Responses to “How do you go about buying a car on AutoTrader to get the best deal?”

  1. hoyaypril says:

    First you find a couple of cars that you like on the website. Click on them and usually there’s a box you can use to contact them. They’ll get back to you, and you guys will arrange a meeting time at the dealer or at the individual seller’s house, depending on who you’re buying from. You have to prove to them you’re financially capable of purchasing this car, or they won’t even give you a chance of test driving the car. You don’t want to look uninterested, but you do want to look and act as if you have many choices out there if they don’t give you a good deal. For a used car, you can usually bargain the price by quite a large margin. Go to Kelley Blue Book’s website,, and check what the car you’re looking at should be worth, and bargain according to that. Remember, they won’t lower the price if you don’t ask them to, and usually prices are set higher than what they’re actually worth, especially at dealers.

    Of course before doing this, you’d want to check that the car is as problem-free as possible, but that’s a different subject matter.

  2. Rick says:

    You don’t buy cars on Auto Trader, just locate them. Never buy a vehicle without first seeing it, driving it, and having it looked at by a mechanic.

    Dealing is something you are either good at, or aren’t. It’s best not to show emotion as a gifted sales person will see that and work you over. Make them give you a starting price, then low ball them. You need to research online to make sure you aren’t in the wrong ballpark. is a great tool that will give you resale values. Auto Trader is also good, "Well, there’s one for sale 10 miles up the road for $1500 less, I am going to go check that one out…" for example. You absolutely have to be able to walk out if they aren’t giving you what you want.

  3. Krishna says:

    Hey Alexander – how much you can save depends on the car. I would recommend you go to AutoSwan,, and check out the car you are looking for (disclaimer: I work at AutoSwan). AutoSwan will tell you for free how much your desired car is selling for, what the average price paid for the car in your area is, and what price we guarantee we can get your car for. If you like the deal, we will connect you with one of our professional auto negotiators who will negotiate with dealers in your area on your behalf.

    If you prefer to buy yourself rather than with a professional, make sure you negotiate everything! I would recommend you do the following:

    1) Make a list of all the dealers within 50 miles of you.
    2) Call each up, tell them what car your looking for, and ask how much they will give you the car for.
    3) Find the "average price paid" using AutoSwan, Edmunds, or KBB.
    4) Go to one of the dealers to test drive the car.
    5) Negotiate with purchase price down to the price you are looking at acquiring the car for.
    6) Leave and go to other dealers if one dealer doesn’t drop their price as much as you would like.

  4. Dodge Ram Van Man says:

    Well, depending on you level of risk, here’s some adv ice.

    I bought a van for $3K with no inspection done. Had that Auto check also. Showed nothing.

    Later came to find the front had been tweaked. (Not truly auto checks fault. Some repair shops will NOT report)….Can’t do a fully proper alignment, but close. $350 for all repairs..Not bad. Engine light went out for long enough for me to get pass deq and then came back on, but I’m good for another year. Plus I live in the van too.

    Now, had it been $5K then I would have coughed up the $500 for the inspection. It all depends on risk level. If the car is cheap and less then $2K, I call it a "Throw away" vehicle and will junk it in 2 years. Higher price? Better treatment then…

    Inspect, inspect, inspect. You’ll save a lot of worry if you do that much…

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