Know what you want
When dealing with salesmen, knowing your own mind is just as important, too, reckons John Owen, buyer for Fords of Winsford, a car supermarket.
'There are so many models to choose from, especially at a car supermarket, that it really helps people find the right car if they've already thought about their needs and their budget,' he says.
1) Do your homework
This is something every one of the industry insiders we spoke to agreed on. Knowledge is power, whether you are buying from a main dealer, a supermarket, or at auction. BCA's James Gibson reckons you should visit three or four auctions before you even think of putting in a bid, for example.
2) Make sure you concentrate on the cost to change
Some dealers will offer a big discount on the car you're buying, but will be tight-fisted with your part-exchange. Others will go the other way. John Owen of Fords of Winsford says: 'It's the difference between the two the cost to change that buyers should worry about. That's the measure of a good deal.'
3) Be prepared to walk away
You're the one with the money, so you decide when you're ready to buy. 'If you're not happy, don't buy,' says Kurtis Williams of Lex. John agrees: 'If you're not sure, walk away.'