AUGUSTA — Happy President’s Day, vehicle shoppers.

The market is slow in February, which means it can be a great time to get an excellent deal, David Leach of the Maine Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection said. But, “do your homework.”

The state agency has put out a booklet to help Maine consumers make wise decisions and understand they need to shop around to know the value of the vehicle they want to buy, the vehicle they’re trading in, and the going loan rates.

One of the biggest warnings is to avoid impulse shopping, according to Leach and his “Automobile Buying and Finance.” It’s available online (https://tinyurl.com/y397hqx3.)

Other tips: Don’t make an emotional purchase and don’t be pressured by “sale ends soon … hurry in.”

The Maine automobile dealers “are a very respectable bunch,” Leach said, but national ads pressure consumers to hurry up and buy because the sale is ending. Take your time, Leach recommends. The deal will be there.

“For many consumers buying a new car, SUV or truck is the second largest purchase after buying a home,” Leach said. So slow down and consider whether the vehicle makes sense to you, and is affordable.

Nationally, consumers are spending more on vehicles. Statistics show that in the last quarter of 2018 consumers owed $1.27 trillion in auto loans, up $53 billion from the year before, Leach said. Much of that hike is because consumers are trading sedans for more expensive SUVs, Leach said.