How much car can you afford? Determine the amount you feel you can pay. Then, think about spending 20-30% less. This may give you a little cushion should you find yourself financially strapped in the future.
Know your prices. Check online to see what the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price is for any car you are interested in and go prepared, bringing this information with you if you think you will forget.
How much will the car really cost? If you have a particular car in mind, and you have determined what it should cost you, also check the following: How much will the car cost you with the interest you will pay? How much will it cost you with car insurance? Estimated fuel costs, oil changes, etc? Three years from now, will the car be worth what you owe?
Call a local credit union to find out what their loan rates are for new cars. Realize you may be required to join the credit union if you are not already a member, and want one of their loans. Compare this information with any financing the dealer may offer, and what your local bank has.
Check outside your area for better rates on loans. There are lenders all over the United States who will take your information by phone or online, and may be willing to beat local rates.
If you are not in a hurry to buy, become friends with a sales agent at the dealership you choose. Ask about repossessions, cars bought from auctions, and demonstration vehicles. Most agents have other offers they might not mention if you don’t ask. Realize that the closer they are to their monthly goal date, often the end of the month, the easier it may be to deal.