1. Buying a New Car: Introduction
  2. Buying a New Car: Signs It's Time to Buy
  3. Buying a New Car: Getting Started
  4. Buying a New Car: The 5 Best Safety Options
  5. Buying a New Car: Smart Strategies at the Dealership
  6. Buying a New Car: 5 Common Mistakes
  7. Buying a New Car: Sneaky Tricks Car Salespeople Pull
  8. Buying a New Car: Financing Your Purchase
  9. Buying a New Car: How to Spot a Great Car Deal
  10. Buying a New Car: Websites, Tools and Apps to Use
  11. Buying a New Car: How to Maintain a Car's Value
  12. Buying a New Car: Top 10 Takeaways

A number of themes emerged in this Investopedia guide to buying a new car. Here's a recap of some of the main points to remember:

1. Do Your Homework 

There is a wealth of information and helpful tools online that can arm you with the knowledge needed to get a favorable car deal and avoid costly mistakes.  Take time to educate yourself before heading to a car dealership.

2. Consider Needs vs. Wants 

Not all options that are available are worth the expense. Make a list of the items you need in a new vehicle and those that would be nice to have but are not worth paying extra money to get. Prioritize safety features over features that offer comfort or convenience.

3. Shop Around 

Comparison shopping is important when buying a new car, truck of SUV. Take time to look around and compare prices, interest rates and incentives that are being offered at various dealerships. Take one offer you get to another dealer and ask them to beat it.

4. Know How Much Car You Can Afford

Get pre-approved for a car loan at your bank or other financial institution before you visit a car lot – compare that offer with any proposed dealer financing. Have a budget and stick to it. Don't be pressured by salespeople into buying a vehicle that you cannot afford. Factor in the total cost of ownership, including fuel, insurance and maintenance.

5. Remember That Everything Is Negotiable. 

Haggling with sales staff can be uncomfortable, but it is the best way to get the deal you want on your new car. From the price to the interest rate to an extended warranty and floor mats, negotiate as much as you can and remember that the worst thing the dealer can say is ``no.``

6. Focus on Getting the Lowest Price and a Good Interest Rate. 

Whether you lease or finance a new car, a low price and low interest rate are important to getting a vehicle that won't break you financially. Watch the hidden fees and extra costs and know the terminology used by salespeople. Understand what you`re paying for and what you should not pay for. 

7. Keep the Repayment Period Short 

If possible, plan to pay your new car off in 48 months or less. Remember that the longer you take to pay off a vehicle, the more interest you`ll pay. While stretching out the payments will result in a lower monthly payment, you`ll end up paying more in the long run if you pay a car off over 60, 72 or 84 months.

8. Be Mindful of Slippery Sales Tactics 

From low-balling the value of your trade in vehicle to trying to hold your credit card, be aware of the tactics employed by salespeople and stand your ground. Ask questions, do your research in advance, think things over and be persistent. Make the salesperson earn your business.

9. Be Prepared to Walk Away. 

Remember that you have the power to end the sales transaction at any time by walking away. You are under no obligation to sign a purchase or lease agreement. If you aren't happy with the deal in front of you, thank the dealership for their time and walkaway.

10. Maintain Your Car`s Value

Depreciation is unavoidable with any vehicle – new or used. And cars should not be viewed as an investment (unless it is a vintage automobile). But there are practical steps you can take to keep your car's value as high as possible. Simple things such as parking a car in the garage and cleaning it regularly can help keep the price higher when it comes time to sell the vehicle or trade it in for a new one.

The Last Word

There are no guarantees when it comes to shopping for a new car. But keeping these 10 tips in mind will enable you to navigate the car buying experience like an expert. Good luck out there!


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