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Top 5 Tips for Buying a Car

The following is a post from staff writer Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff, where she writes about finding the balance between paying your bills, saving for your future, and budgeting for the fun stuff along the way.

I have bought two cars in the last six years and helped friends and family buy three others. These are the five tips I would suggest to anyone in the market for a vehicle:

1. Narrow Down Your Choices

If you don’t know exactly what you want, figure it out before you ever head into a dealership. You do not want a huge financial decision influenced by the people who profit based on how much you fork over, right? I would personally suggest that you narrow down your choices to two to three cars at the most. The longer you stay at the dealership test driving cars, the more time they have to wear you down. Reading car reviews will definitely help narrow down your choices.

2. Research the Price

This is the most important advice whether you are buying new or used. Never enter a sales transaction without knowing what a fair price really is or you will not leave with a deal that makes you happy. I personally use Kelley Blue Book and to research vehicle values before I ever go to a dealership or look at a used car ad. Once you know what the car you want is worth, you’ll have more power in the negotiating process.

3. Research the Options and Warranties

I won’t judge anyone who wants heated seats or an extended warranty, but please look into their actual values before you leave your home. Everything is negotiable in a car sale, even all of the extras. If you know that the extended warranty you want should be $1000-$1400, then you are more likely to say so when the finance manager tries to talk you into it for $2300.

4. Research your Financing Options if Necessary

If you are financing your car, get quotes from banks and credit unions before taking a look at the dealership’s offer. Don’t mention these outside quotes unless the dealership’s quote is worse. If their quote is a higher APR than you’d like to pay, simply let them know that you were already pre-approved by an outside bank at x rate. Many times the dealership will re-examine their initial offering and beat your rate. Every dealership works with 10 or more lien holders, so they often can find you some awesome deals when they are motivated.

5. Stay Strong at the Dealership

All of the research in the world will not save you if get gooey-eyed and weak-willed around sales people. If you can’t hold your own and defend your stance, you will get talked into a billion little extras and end up paying way more than you would ever want to spend on a car. In short, if you may give in, buy your next car on the phone or through the Internet. I personally love the Internet sales departments of car dealerships since they don’t like to get their hands dirty with hard sales.

Am I missing any great car buying tips?



  1. Aside from researching about the important factors above (price, warranty, etc.), car buyers can look also for incentives and rebates to be able to save money and find more convenient ways to pay for the purchase. Find out which models are eligible for these incentives and rebates. Also, there are cities which offer additional incentives for specific car models.

  2. Buying new cars can be both a daunting and exciting experience, and is one of the most important investments of our life. Having your own car will undoubtedly allow you more freedom, but the sheer variety of different car models, ranges and manufacturers can be overwhelming. Here are some tips for first time buyers for things they should look for or be aware when buying a car.

  3. At the time of buying a car, you should evaluate your need for having a car. Like if you have a family of six and you can afford to have only one car then going sports car is not going to serve your need. Instead, look at cars which fulfill your need and at the same time satisfy your desire. So, your choice of the car should be based on the purpose of buying the car.

  4. One of the best things that you can do when looking for a good car dealer is to simply ask around. Some companies providing such auto financing deals can even accommodate clients with bad credit scores. The job of door-to-door salespersons making unsolicited visits to houses to peddle their wares is even worse, for they take such abuses to their faces, unlike telemarketers who have the shield of the telephone.

  5. Finding auto finance has never ever been an easy affair, let us accept that. Of course those who don’t care go ahead with the first option they get but those who want to get the best deal certainly need to do a lot of chasing and running.

  6. I am usually good at haggling and getting more from deals such as road tax included etc, its always worth a try

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