10 Tips to Make the Most of Your Car-Buying Experience

Buying a car is a big investment, and it's important to be an informed buyer. To make the most of the car-buying experience, follow these 10 tips. First, get pre-approved for a loan before setting foot on a dealership lot. This will give you an idea of what you can afford and help you keep it simple at the dealership.

Don't buy any add-ons in the moment. A better way to do this is a five-year loan for a new car, and with a used car, you should finance it for only three years, that's 36 months. A good rule of thumb is to spend no more than 20 percent of your monthly household income on a new car. This figure should include your monthly car loan payments and all other expenses, such as fuel, car insurance, maintenance, repairs, and registration fees.

Just for the monthly payment, Edmunds suggests you shouldn't aim for more than 15 percent of your income. After you've established your budget and determined the type of property that's right for your driving habits, start researching the vehicles that have caught your eye. First, visit car manufacturers' websites and independent automotive information sites to evaluate features that are important to you. Consider MSRPs (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices) and Invoice Prices.

Next, check the local inventory listings to see what's available in your area. Many car manufacturers offer discounts to students, members of the military, and even members of certain credit unions. These discounts can be cumulated and combined with any model cash back, which must be deducted after negotiating the price. Check the automaker's website for these incentives before entering.

When it's time to sit down and talk about pricing, be prepared with the research you've done. Check if other dealers offer better deals for your vehicle and look for a price match with your seller. If you want to change your current car, save that conversation for after negotiating the sale price of your new car. Having those conversations separately will help you get a better deal on your current car, and you'll do even better if you've researched the value of your current car online. Before You Go Dealership Shopping Protect Yourself From Recalled Cars Used Car Consumer Bill of Rights Education Campaign. Reduced inventories also mean few opportunities for driving tests.

Since buying a car, without driving it first isn't something Shattuck recommends, she had to be creative. She can suggest customers to test a car at a trim level or even one used to experience ride quality, for example, and how the seats feel. Renting on a resource such as the car-sharing market, Turo, could also be a solution. Your insurance rates often change when you buy a new vehicle. Before choosing a model, the nonprofit Information Institute recommends that you ask your insurance representative how much it will cost to insure. Often the best time to buy is during year-end sales, when dealerships need to make room for newer models, notes Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Negotiate the real price of the car instead of the monthly payment. Focusing on payments makes it easier to lose sight of the total amount you'll pay over time. Whether you buy a new car regularly or haven't bought one since the invention of the minivan, the process is smoother when you know what to expect. Often the best time to buy is during year-end sales, when dealers need to make room for newer models. One of the best things about buying a new car are all the new devices that have been developed in recent years to help drivers avoid accidents. Many car buyers prefer to have financing from a bank or credit union before arriving at the dealership. When you're ready, follow these seven steps to make the most of the car-buying experience and get the vehicle of your dreams at a price that won't ruin you. The value of your current vehicle is a fundamental piece of the car purchase puzzle, as it directly affects the amount of cash you'll need to complete a car purchase transaction. Some factors to consider before buying a hybrid car include whether to buy a used car and whether you will qualify for insurance discounts. If you choose a sports model that appeals to shoppers who enjoy driving fast, it's likely to cost more to insure. The Bankrate calculator can help you estimate potential purchase or lease cost savings so you can make an informed decision. Buying a new car is an exciting process, and there's no better feeling than walking out of the parking lot knowing you have the best deal.