How are you going to pay for your car?
How much of a payment can you afford?
How much will auto insurance cost?
How much will maintenance and fuel cost?
The first thing to do is figure out your budget, and find out exactly how much car you can afford without strapping yourself financially. If you look online you can find a car payment calculator to let you know what your payments will be.
You can also inquire online to auto insurance companies to find out what car insurance will cost you.
Once you have determined what you can afford to pay you can begin to look at the cars that interest you and see which ones you can afford. Once you have narrowed it down you can begin to look at specific models to see which one fits your needs and your budget.
Always visit several different dealerships to see what the differences in pricing and financing are. You will learn something on each visit to a dealership, and that can only help you when you are ready to begin price negotiations. If you have a friend or relative who is good at making large purchases, and good with dealing with the car sales men bring them along.
Learn how and what questions they ask. If you don't understand why they are asking some of them, ask them. They have learned through experience what questions should be asked, and what satisfactory answers to those questions are.
Learn everything you can about the car model you decide upon before you go near a car dealer. This will help you to keep your head on your shoulders once you do talk to a car salesman. Remember, this guy wants to sell you the most car he can, and he is not worried about what you can afford. He is thinking about his own commission.
Don't let him talk to into a higher priced model than the one you decided upon, unless your figures tell you that it will be affordable, it has all the extras you want in your new car, and it is economical to run.
Does the model you are considering have a history of holding its value up? You want to make sure you can get a good price when you decide to sell this car for your next one. If you are thinking about buying a used car make sure you see a vehicle history report from the dealer. This will let you know if the car you are thinking about has been in any accidents. You don't want to buy someone else's problem vehicle.
Talk to people you know, and find out if they are satisfied with the service they got from the car dealership they used to buy their own car. No information you read will come closer to the satisfaction level of people who have personally shopped at a car dealer. You will be able to trust the opinions of your family and friends when it comes to the purchase and service they got when they bought their own car.
Take the model your thinking about out on a test drive. Drive it in real traffic, not around the dealer's lot. How does it handle? Are you comfortable in it? If you brought someone with you ask how they like the back seat. You may never have to sit there, but you do want it to be comfortable, and roomy, for any future passengers you may have. How does it stop, and start? Are there any noises you don't like? Listen for them, I bought a car once, and the wind outside made a strange noise blowing past my windows. It nearly drove me crazy, but I never noticed it until the papers were signed and the car was mine.
Try everything in the car. The windshield wipers, the windshield fluid, the brakes, the radio, the windows, the trunk. Make sure you know exactly what you will be getting for your money. Some doors sound very tinny when they are being shut. You may not care, but it may be something you don't like. Better to find out before you purchase the car.
How are you paying for this car? Have you looked at sources of financing other than the car dealer? Do you have a checking and savings at a local bank. Check out their terms and percentage rates for car loans. Do you belong to a credit union? Sometimes they may have a better rate than your bank, or your car dealer.
Know what is available to you before you go into the dealer. Let him work for your business. You can try to negotiate with him on the percentage rate of financing. If you can get 5% percent at your bank, let the dealer know you will finance through him if he gives you 4.5 %. All he can do is say no, but he may say yes, so give it a try.
Read up on what is involved in the price of the car. You can negotiate to have the suggested price of the car lowered. You must work for it though, no one is going to walk over and say "Hey, we decided to let you pay 5,000.00 less for this model vehicle." But with research and knowledge as tools, you can end up saving that much.
Once you are sure of the model car you want, and have taken a couple of test drives at different dealerships, look back on your experiences. Was there one salesperson you felt to be trustworthy, or more honest than the rest? Go back to the dealership you were most happy and comfortable with, and let them know you would like to begin buying negotiations.
One good thing to be aware of is that you usually have three business days to cancel a contract, so if you are unhappy with your choice, even after you have followed the advice above, you can still return the car. If, for some reason, you decide you would like to do this, make sure you do it as soon as possible.
It must be in writing. If you procrastinate, and are later that the three days you are allowed, your contract will be considered binding. You will have to learn to live with this car. If you are happy with your vehicle once you pick it up from the dealership you have no need to think about this final measure.
When you are sure you have gotten the best deal you can get, tell your salesperson you are ready to sign the contract. Make sure to talk to your insurance carrier and let him know you will need an insurance card for you new auto, and let him know when you need the coverage to start.
The car dealership usually handles the registration of the vehicle, and orders your new license plates for you. They will give you a temporary license to display in the back window of your new car. In a few weeks, you will have to go back to the dealer to get your new plates.
You are almost driving home in the car of your dreams, and you did it the smart way. You got a good deal on your new vehicle, and you saved yourself some money. You also learned a lot about what a little research and perseverance can accomplish when you are trying to purchase a high dollar item.
Congratulations! You can be proud of yourself, the new skills you have learned, and of that hot new model car you are going to be driving home tomorrow.