We often hear that negotiation is an art. In the case of buying a car from a private individual, the price is essential. It is therefore necessary to negotiate on the basis of factual elements in order for the discussion to be constructive and lead to an agreement.

Estimate the average price of the vehicle on the market

Before you can negotiate the price of a vehicle, you need to know its value. This first step is tedious but essential so that you can see what the vehicle is worth in the used market. This will tell you whether the price displayed is realistic or not.

Sift through the ad and ask the seller

Before you go any further in your buying process, you must be sure of the car you plan to buy. Examine the ad and ask the seller to find out exactly what the car is:
  • Precise model name
  • Motorization (gasoline or diesel) and power
  • Date of entry into circulation
  • Wheel type and size
  • Options
  • Mileage

Find out about mandatory interviews and reviews

The maintenance of a car is the determining criterion for paying it at the right price. It can also be a good negotiating lever to lower the price of the new car. When you ask around, you will sometimes find that it is better to buy a little more expensive a latest version of the same model that requires less maintenance.

Find the mileage of the vehicle

It is the mileage that determines when to perform maintenance on the vehicle's wear parts. Ask the seller for the mileage of his vehicle and then find out how long the wear parts of this model last.

Look at the instructions for mandatory interviews

The vehicle owner's manual contains information on the vehicle's wear parts and their maintenance frequency. This document is also called the manufacturer's maintenance logbook. Main maintenance operations of a car according to its mileage:
  • Wear part Mileage
  • Shock absorber 80 000 km
  • Belt 60,000 to 240,000 km
  • Brake pads 40,000 km
  • Brake kits 80 000 km
  • Engine oil change 10 000 km
  • Candles 20 000 km
No need to ask the seller; most manufacturers make the operating instructions for their models available directly on the Internet.

Look at the revision history

Thanks to the vehicle's maintenance logbook, or maintenance invoices, you must check that the car has been properly maintained. In any case, the vehicle must be serviced every two years, and this service almost always results in repairs or parts changes. If significant transactions have not been made by the seller, the price of the car must take this into account.

Estimate the price of the visit to the garage

If the price of the car does not take into account its lack of maintenance, you must rely on quotes from garages. This will allow you to negotiate on the basis of facts and confidently request a discount from the seller. To do this, find the reference price for this model, with the same mileage but with proper maintenance. Make the difference between this reference price and the amount of the quotations. If your seller's price is higher, ask him for an effort.

Use a flexible and secure payment method

Negotiating a car is one thing, but you need to adopt a flexible payment method to send exactly the agreed amount. The cashier's check is not suitable. In addition to the risk of scam for the seller, its amount cannot be changed. You cannot therefore conduct the negotiation in front of the vehicle with this payment method. Don't go to the bank anymore, all the steps are done online.

On D-Day, visually inspect the vehicle

Some visual defects may not have been mentioned on the advertisement; they may be taken into account for negotiation. Be careful, the older a car gets the more normal it is for its visual appearance and interior to deteriorate.

Internal defects

Inside the vehicle, many elements can be negotiated. You have to be uncompromising on the safety elements: a faulty seat belt, a missing headrest, a seat that doesn't attach properly... If the seller hasn't bothered to make these repairs, the price of the car must take this into account, regardless of its age. The state of dirt from the inside can be negotiated. Keep in mind that the older a vehicle is, the dirtier and more worn out its interior fabrics and leathers are. However, abnormal wear and tear must result in an action on the price of the car. Spots on the seat are negotiable on the price. Smoking cars can also have a worse interior than normal: cigarette lighter and dirty ashtrays, burn marks on benches and carpets.

External defects

Inspect the exterior appearance of the vehicle. If body parts appear to have been replaced, ask the seller for information, he may have been involved in an accident. A vehicle that has been involved in an accident and has been properly repaired and certified is not sold at a lower price.

Good to know

To check that you are not buying a rolling wreck, require the official Histovec report from the car. If the bodywork has scratches or small traces of impact, you can ask for a lower price if the car is new.

Determine cases of abnormal wear and tear

As you will have understood, abnormal wear and tear on a car is a real negotiating lever. For example, a diesel that has mainly been driven in urban areas may be subject to a higher discount due to wear and tear. However, you should be wary of odometer fraud. The car's mileage is low, but its parts are worn. It is possible that his meter was tampered with to make you pay the high price. Excessive wear and tear on the vehicle in relation to its mileage should be a warning to you. Most of the time, the buyer notices this when the car is damaged and takes it to the garage.