When you’re buying a used car, the price on the windscreen or in the classified ad isn’t necessarily the price you have to pay. In fact, figures show that it really does pay off to haggle with the vendor.

New research by the Money Advice Service into buying a second-hand car shows that 80% of people who bought a car in the past two years tried to negotiate a discount when buying.

And more than six in 10 got some money off the price - men fared slightly better, with 67% bagging a discount compared to 60% of women.

The survey also revealed that motorists living in Northern Ireland and Scotland were the most successful in the UK at negotiating a discount.

But as the findings highlight, if you’re not haggling you’re more than likely missing out on a saving – money which could go towards covering the running costs once you do buy the car you want.

If you’re new to the art of haggling, don’t be daunted – use our advice to get the best price for your next car.

But before you do anything, make sure you set yourself a realistic budget based on what you can afford to pay and don’t forget to factor in your running costs – just enter a registration number into the new Car Costs Calculator from the Money Advice Service for an instant breakdown of the total first-year running costs.

Do your homework

Now it’s time to do your research. Look at motoring and car valuation websites, dealers’ forecourts and classified ads to give you an idea of what you should be paying for your target car.

When you have found the car you want to buy, check online for rival dealers in your area to see if any of them are offering deals on the same car. This can be a good bargaining tool.

If you’re part-exchanging your current car, make sure you know what it’s worth. The more you can get for it, the less haggling you’ll have to do on the rest of the deal.

Seal the deal

Now you’re all clued up, get to grips with these simple tips to help haggle yourself a bargain price:

• If you are negotiating with a dealer, be friendly and polite, but never let the salesperson know your maximum limit.

• If you’re a cash buyer, don’t tell the salesperson this straight away. That way you can ask for a deal for cash later in the process.

• Dealers make bigger profits on finance deals, so let them negotiate the car’s price on that basis. You can then decline the finance deal later in the process.

• Start off by stating an amount lower than you’re actually prepared to pay – you can then gradually increase it if necessary.

• When you make an offer, don’t speak again until the salesperson replies.

• It also pays to be positive about your aims: for example, don’t say “Can I have a discount?”, but instead ask “How much discount can I have?”.

• If you are struggling to get a discount but really want the car, offer to buy the car there and then. A quick sale may help you agree a price.

• Don’t be afraid to walk away if the dealer won’t negotiate – there are plenty more fish in the sea when it comes to used cars.

The Money Advice Service is an independent body set up by government to help people manage their money through free and impartial advice.