Buying a new car can be tough. There are many models to choose from and many dealerships to shop at. Research is crucial, and the more you do, the wiser decision you will make. Here are some tips to assist you in your search.

Comparison shop online

Every manufacturer has a website. Use it. Review the models available and compare the ones of interest. In some cases, you may be able to build a car. Do it. Choose the model, color, features and accessories you want and then find out what dealers carry the car and how much it would cost you. Price too high? Eliminate some of the extras or a look for a comparable, less expensive model.

Shop around

When you are actually ready to hit the showroom floor, check out the offerings at as many dealerships as possible. Shop at big-name and small-name dealers. See what is available, ask questions, take test drives and jot down notes. Know where the best selection, service and savings are.

Explore pricing options


It’s hard to get a good deal if you don’t know what the dealer paid for the vehicle. You can find lists of dealer invoice prices and wholesale prices online. While you’re at it, check out any rebates or special discounts that might be available. From time to time, manufacturers offer cash-back rebates and discounts for members of the military, students and others.

Narrow the choices

Once you know what’s out there and what it’s going to cost you, you can start determining the best choice for you. Write down the models that interest you most and then whittle down the choices based on factors like availability, cost and features. For the ultimate deciding factor, take another test drive. Make sure the model of interest is a good fit and feel for you.

Get your financing in order

How do you intend to purchase the vehicle? With savings, a bank loan or dealership financing? If you can’t pay for a vehicle outright, a low-interest loan is probably your best bet. Shop around for the best rates and make sure you have pre-approval.

Be a good negotiator

Get several price quotes from area dealers, but don’t assume the lowest is the best. Some price quotes may not include rebates and special discounts. Determine what dealers you want to work with, based on their price quote as well as their willingness to assist you. When you start the negotiation process, use the invoice price rather than the inflated price. That’s right. Bargain up rather than down, and don’t buy any low-cost extras like extended warranties or rust proofing.

Buying a new car takes time and effort. Be prepared to put in the work, and you will make the right choice for you.

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