How to get the best price when changing your car – from carwow’s YouTube motoring expert, Mat Watson

September 11, 2023 by

Car changing is a big deal

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  • Nearly half of all drivers find switching cars stressful – and 44% worry about getting the right price
  • New carwow data reveals top car switching pain points, with ‘getting ripped off’ and ‘making the wrong decision’ topping the list
  • Over half (58%) of buyers prioritise getting a fair price, with this coming out higher than upgrading to a better model (37%)
  • Mat Watson, Chief Content Officer and motoring expert on carwow’s YouTube channel (with 8m subscribers) gives his top tips on how to get the best price when changing your car

12 September 2023: New research by online car marketplace, carwow – exploring people’s views on switching cars – finds that nearly half (47%) of all motorists find selling a car stressful, while two in five (41%) feel the same about buying a car*.

With the government’s 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars just seven years away, and the expansion of several clean air zones across the country in action or planned for the coming years, many people could be considering switching their car earlier bringing to the fore car switching stresses for a number of motorists.

In a study conducted by carwow earlier this year**, the majority (58%) of drivers said getting a fair price is the most important thing to them when changing cars. Perhaps surprisingly, this was ranked even more highly than getting a car that works for everyday family life (43%). It also ranked as more important than upgrading to a better model (37%).

When it comes to changing their cars, nearly two in five (38%) people said they feel concerned about being ripped off and one in three (36%) worry about facing hidden costs. More than two in five (43%) admit they are concerned about making the wrong decision.

* Censuswide study commissioned by carwow survey of 3,035 car owners between the age of 17-75 between 20.07.2023 – 21.08.2023
** Censuswide study commissioned by carwow of 1,308 UK drivers who own a car aged 17+ between 13.02.23 to 15.02.23

Mat Watson, Chief Content Officer for carwow and presenter of carwow’s YouTube channel (with 8m+ subscribers) gives his top tips for how to get the best price for a new car and how to best sell your old car.

Mat Watson, Chief Content Officer at carwow, said: “Changing your car is a big deal in anyone’s life. But, as our research showed, nearly half of all drivers find switching cars stressful – and 44% worry about getting the right price. Getting a better deal on a new car or when selling your old car, is what everyone wants, but it might seem daunting if you’re unsure of how to negotiate a car’s price.

“We think there’s a lot getting in the way of a ‘wow’ experience – whether that’s timewasters, no show’ers , tyre-kickers, jargon-users, up-sellers, the “Sorry it’s already sold” or the “how about I give you £3k less” negotiators.

“People deserve to have much better car changing experiences. The good news is that there are steps you can take to prepare yourself, whether you’re selling or buying. Going online is a great place to start, to arm yourself with a bit of know-how and confidence.”

How to negotiate a car price: 10 top tips for buyers and sellers

Compare prices – First things first, arm yourself with knowledge. Take a good, long look at other listings for cars of a similar spec to the one you have your heart set on. This exercise will give you a ballpark figure and some wiggle room when you step into that negotiation ring. Who knows, you might even stumble upon a better deal!

If you’re selling, researching will help you know what you should be getting for your car. Though do remember – while you’ll find higher prices for private sales it will require more hassle and risks than selling to trade.

Pick your day wisely – Timing is everything. If you can, make your dealership pilgrimage during the week when things are quieter. Why? Well, it gives you ample opportunity to chat with the salesperson, no distractions, and more time to haggle that car price down. Plus, if you’re considering a trade-in, this is prime time to work some magic.

Know your model range – Alright, buyers, pay attention to this one. If you’ve got your heart set on a particular model, don’t just stop at the basics. Dive deep into the full lineup from that brand. Online configurators are your best friends here. You’ll see all the specs and the prices of those add-ons. That way, you won’t be negotiated down to a lesser model for your hard-earned cash.

Get your car ship shape – Before you even think about waving goodbye to your beloved ride, fix those dings and dents, service it, clean it till it sparkles, and make sure it’s got a fresh MOT. If there is major damage, a significant fault or a visible dashboard warning light, you’ll get a quicker sale if these are fixed. A car with a good recent service history will be worth more too. And finally – get it cleaned. Consider a professional valeter to get your car as close to showroom fresh as possible.

Get your paperwork ducks in a row – don’t be caught off guard with paperwork woes. While it’s legally possible to sell a car without a V5C, or logbook, in practice it can be very difficult, so get a replacement one organised. And don’t forget that service history; garages can usually print or email those records if they’re MIA. Being organised here saves you headaches down the road.

Be nice! – A little kindness goes a long way. Intimidation is not a good tactic for negotiating a deal on a car. Be friendly and polite, even if you’re finding them to be stubborn when it comes to getting a deal to suit you. it paves the way for a smoother conversation.

Be stubborn (with yourself) – While it’s good practice to play nice, don’t let your budget or your desired sale price slip away. Stay firm with what you’re comfortable with. Don’t get talked into something less just because the seller seemed friendly..

Don’t rush it – A car is a huge financial commitment, and haste can lead to regrets. If someone’s pushing you into a hasty decision, take a step back. You’ve got time on your side. A good rule of thumb? Sleep on it if you can.

Start low and work your way up- When it’s time to throw numbers around, always start lower than what you’re willing to pay. Trust me; this gives you some room to manoeuvre. For sellers, go in knowing your ideal price, a fair price, and the absolute rock-bottom price you’ll accept.

Don’t fear the exit – Last but certainly not least, never forget this golden rule: you’re not chained to the deal. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t hesitate to walk away. There are plenty of fish in the sea, or, in this case, cars on the lot. Shop around, explore your options, and stay savvy.