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New Car Buying Tips & Advice

Top 40 New Car Buying Tips
Like most people, you're probably only going to buy a new car a handful of times in your life. Considering what a major investment it can be and how crucial it is to have reliable transportation, it pays not to rush the car buying process. Keep these tips in mind whenever you're in the market for a new vehicle:

Car Buying Tips
1) Determine your budget ahead of time. For best results, have a firm number in mind. It should be the maximum amount that you're willing to pay. Be prepared to walk out of the dealership if you're given a price that exceeds it.

2) Figure out how you'll pay for your vehicle before going to the dealership. Will you pay for it with cash, finance it or lease it? You'll face enough pressure at the dealership as it is, and the last thing you want to do is make this decision while you're there.

3) Familiarize yourself with the available incentives and rebates. They can save you huge amounts of money, and some deals are way better than others. If you're torn between two different cars, the available rebates and incentives may help you decide more easily.

4) Find out what people are paying in your area. You will need to have a specific make and model in mind in order to get accurate information. There are plenty of websites that even allow you to fine-tune your research down to specific options and trim levels.

5) Leave monthly payment amounts out of it. The worst mistake you can make is to tell the salesperson how much you can afford to spend each month. You can be certain that your payment will end up being for that amount, and you're far more likely to pay more than you should.

6) Try to be flexible. Some people argue that you only buy a new car every now and then, so shouldn't it be exactly what you want? You can certainly go into the situation with that attitude, but you shouldn't expect to get the best deal.

7) Avail yourself of online inventory tools. If you go into a dealership looking for a specific model that's not available on the lot, you may be pressured into getting something that you don't really love. Don't even bother visiting a dealership until you're sure it has what you want.

8) Make use of the dealership's Internet department. Most dealerships have one, and they are convenient because you can drastically reduce the amount of time that you sit negotiating your purchase. You should be assigned a salesperson, and make sure to deal only with him or her from that point forward.

9) Know the trade-in value of your car ahead of time. This is yet another reason to never impulsively stop by the dealership. Without knowing any better, you might think that you're being offered a fair price for your current vehicle. Use online calculators to get a ballpark estimate of how much you can expect to get.

10) Consider selling your car privately if you really want top dollar for it. You're just not going to get the best price for it by trading it in. Of course, you will avoid a lot of headaches by trading it in at the dealership, so it's a trade-off of sorts.

11) Always get a quote in writing. You should then compare the price you're quoted with the average price that people in your area are paying for the car in question. How does the quote stack up? Are you being offered a truly good deal?

12) Collect quotes from at least three dealers. This is where you can really arm yourself with the tools that you need to negotiate a great deal. Call around telling dealers the lowest price you're being offered and that you'll buy your car from them if they lower their price.

13) Don't forget about all of the other fees. The price that you're quoted isn't going to be the full amount that you're going to pay. Your contract will include registration fees, taxes, documentation fees and other charges. Educate yourself about what these fees are and how much you can expect to spend on them.

14) Never sign a contract without reviewing all of the costs and fees. It's a common ploy for dealerships to try to slip a few random charges in at the last possible second.

15) Consider having your new car delivered to you. It's a lot easier and less stressful to close at home than at the dealership. You may have to pay a little more, or you may be able to have this service thrown in for free to close the deal.

16) Carefully inspect your car before signing the contract. Just because it looked fine the other day doesn't mean it is now. Besides, you may not have noticed scratches, dents or other small blemishes. It should also have a full tank of gas, so check that too before moving forward with closing.

17) Turn down any extras that are offered. You will be given a big spiel about how important it is to protect the upholstery of your new vehicle or about how your car will stay in better shape with rust protection. Don't fall for it. This is just an easy way for the dealership to make a little more.

18) Consider getting an extended warranty. This is the one thing that may be worth it. You should shop around online beforehand to get a feel for the usual rates. Get quotes from a few different companies. If the dealership can beat those quotes and you can afford to buy it, go for it.

19) Make sure that each form is explained to you during closing. It's amazing how many people inadvertently agree to terms and conditions they weren't aware of at the time. The best dealerships always make sure that buyers are fully in the loop.

20) Remember that there is no cooling-off period. As soon as you sign that contract, the car is yours. If you decide you don't like it, it will be up to you to sell it and find another vehicle.

21) Leave your emotions out of it. This may be a tall order, but it's critical not to get hung up on a certain car. In the end, this is going to be a business transaction. It will affect your finances for the foreseeable future, so don't make decisions based on emotions.

22) Do a breakdown of all of the costs before moving forward with a purchase. You should have clear, firm numbers in front of you well before you make your ultimate decision. These costs include things like trade-in values, rebates, invoice prices and interest rates.

23) Don't cave in to pressure tactics. In fact, you should head for greener pastures as soon as a salesperson starts trying this kind of thing. Merely threatening to leave should be enough to make them ease up, but don't be afraid to walk away.

24) If possible, wait until near the end of the month to go to the actual dealership. You don't have to go on the actual last day. After all, you may need a few days to hash everything out. Still, dealerships have quotas to meet. If you're lucky, the one you visit won't have met it yet and will be willing to play ball.

25) Remember that you're likelier to get a great deal if the car is actually in stock. Sure, the dealership may be able to send away for what you want or do a trade with a different dealership. However, these steps almost ensure that you won't get the best price.

26) Be prepared to pay more for brand-new models. If you've gotten all hyped up about a new car that just made its debut, remember that you're going to pay a premium for it. It's the same with buying anything that's the latest and greatest. If you really need a good deal, find a similar model or wait a while before buying this one.

27) Consider how long you will keep your car before buying it. This will come in handy when deciding whether to lease it or buy it. If you're the kind of person who likes to have a new car every few years, a lease is almost certainly the best option.

28) Check the odometer. This may seem obvious, but it's still important to do. The dealership should also have the mileage clearly noted in the contract. If it's been driven more than 100 miles, find out if it was a demo. If so, when did it go into service? The warranty would have kicked in at that point.

29) Make sure you get a good deal on last year's model. If the new models have been released, the old ones will have depreciated by 20 to 25 percent. Therefore, their prices should have dropped by about that amount as well.

30) Don't get talked into buying used. There are so many terrific deals on new cars that used cars aren't the steals they once were. Besides, you will have to pay a higher interest rate if you finance the purchase of a used car.

31) Do in-depth research about all of the cars that you like. You can expect to spend a lot of time on the Internet, but that's fine. Read professional reviews, and try to find reviews from actual buyers as well.

32) Keep the cost of ownership in mind. People often make the mistake of only worrying about the price of the car and the monthly payment that goes along with it. There are also ownership costs like fuel, maintenance and repairs, so be sure to factor them in before making a decision.

33) Get insurance quotes for the top possibilities. The make and model of a vehicle have a major impact on the amount that you will pay for insurance. Don't assume that your rate will be basically the same regardless of which car you purchase.

34) Don't get distracted by zero-interest offers. Dealerships love promoting these and use them to get people in the door. The problem is that very few people actually qualify for this kind of financing. Only about one in 10 buyers will, so don't get too excited about them.

35) Proceed with caution with manufacturer financing. Dealerships often try to steer people into getting financing from the manufacturer, but it's often not the best deal. The only exception is if you will get an incredibly low interest rate. Otherwise, manufacturer financing is probably not the best deal.

36) Always ask about personal discounts. If you've served in the military, are a student or fall into another category, you may be eligible for special discounts. They're not always advertised prominently, so be sure to ask. Auto workers also usually qualify for these kinds of discounts.

37) Keep car safety ratings in mind. The last thing you want is to end up with a car that has terrible crash test ratings or other problems. It only takes a few minutes to do an online search to obtain this information.

38) Consider using a car buying service. You should definitely do so if you just aren't very good at negotiating. If you're likely to just go along with whatever the salesperson says, you can save a lot of money by paying for this kind of service.

39) Always shop around for financing. You should do this before you step foot in a single dealership. You'll have decided what your maximum amount will be, so shop around for loans in that amount. The loan can be adjusted when you actually go to close on your vehicle.

40) Test drive plenty of cars. Try them out in lots of different environments too. For instance, get on the freeway and travel down residential streets. If possible, take it onto dirt roads too. You want to get a real sense of what it will be like to drive this car every day.