Essentials of buying a new car

Having a reliable car not only keeps you away from repair shops but also makes a better use of any car payments you make. If, on the other hand, the car is riddled with problems, it is difficult to stay of repair shops. No one wants a car with troubles. Buying trouble free cars requires research. A good place to start is to take those people who have the car you are considering to purchase. You can also look at the consumer reports magazines to find repair data and ratings of the car model and year you desire.

Researching on repair data on a car is just one element of buying a car. There are other considerations any car buyer should evaluate to buy a car more efficiently and with less stress. Use this page to find essentials tips on buying a new car to make a better deal. Realize if you go to the dealer unprepared - meaning without any research - you are likely to pay more. So don't let your car buying excitement to be taken advantage of. With the 24/7 availability of the internet, you have many resources at your fingertips to aid your purchase. Your local library is also full of resources on car buying information.

To get you started with the process of buying a new car, read our recommendations below. Although we start the process of buying a car with you choosing what you want, someone else could first start their purchase process with applying for a new car loan. So once the money is secured, then, the purchaser can decide on the specific car. In any case, the purchaser is likely to consider all points listed below but not necessarily in the order shown.

Pick a car (or brand)

Decide on what model of a car or truck you want. Know if you want a two-door, four-door, and the version of the car (such as LE, XLE, DX, LX, EX, and so on) as early as possible. Know also of any specific options you want.

Choose the model of the car you want. Do you want a Toyota or Lexus?
Choose the model of the car you want. Do you want a Toyota or Lexus?

By having narrowed your criteria, you will have a more precise idea on how much you will be paying on the car, car insurance, and other expenses.

If you are driving a particular brand already, your experience may dictate whether or not you switch. If you are staying loyal with a particular brand, you obviously don’t need to do much picking or researching for many brands on the market.

If, however, you unsure on brand and/or model, your best bet is to test-drive older cars. It is not recommended going to the dealer for just test-drive because you are likely to be pressured to buy. (See below when we recommend a consumer is ready to go to the dealer.) Consider renting a car of the model to see how you like it. You could also consider driving a car that your friend or family member owns.

Review car repair data

By check the car repair data, if available, you get an idea of the repairs involved in owing that particular car. If it turns out the car is reported to have substantial repairs, you know what to avoid. If you don’t find repair data for a specific model you have chosen, see the previous models to get a glimpse of what to expect. By reviewing the car repair data you may be able to eliminate some car choices, if you had more than one. If you just had one choice and it does not have a good repair record, you may want to consider choosing some other brand or model.

Get pricing information

If you have narrowed your search to one or just few models, it becomes easier for you to focus on other considerations involved in buying a new car. Now, you want to research on how much you should be paying for the new car. It’s easy - right? You just go to the dealer’s website to find out what that car will cost you. There is a better way actually.

You should check with several websites such as Kelly Blue Book ( and to learn of the dealer cost figures. Try researching on the price on independent car sites as opposed to looking at the dealer's website for quotes. You will get a better picture of the best price by looking at non-dealer websites. This does not mean you should avoid going to the dealer's websites, however.

By gathering information on the cost figures, you will have a better idea of how much to pay and you will be better prepared to negotiate with the dealer. Also, by getting the pricing information early, you can also easily calculate any difference in cost among your other choices.

Secure financing

Once you have decided on what you want and have a rough idea on how much you will be paying, you need to decide on financing - if needed. Go to your bank for shopping on the loan. Also, check online lenders to learn of their rates. The idea here is to pre-qualify for a loan before going to the dealer.

If you go to the dealer without shopping for a loan first, you are likely to be charged more when you go with a dealer offered loan. Beside savings with pre-qualifying, your purchase won't collapse due to financing issues. Additionally, with prequalification you know in advance how much monthly payment you can afford within your budget.

A quick tip

Choose a car payment that is less you can afford. Keeping monthly payments lower than a budgeted amount helps to pay for any unexpected car expenses. Conversely, choosing a payment over the budgeted amount is not recommended.


If you have any trade-in, research how much you can expect to get for it- when you trade this car for a new. Actually, if you don't mix up your trade-in with your new car transaction, you are likely to save even more. The dealers are known to give more on the trade-in only to charge more on what they sell to the customer.

So consider selling you car on your own instead of selling it to the dealer. You may advertise in a local newspaper, online ( or, or just put the old For Sale sign and let your sales skill work for you. You should know the pros and cons of whether you sell you old car before or after you buy new car.

Going to the dealer

A small dealership offering thirty or less used cars.
A small dealership offering thirty or less used cars. A low volume of cars on sale often offers limited choices.

A more recognizable auto dealers on the other hand offer larger auto selection:

A one stop dealer offering brands such as Mazda, Chevrolet, Buick, and so on.
A one stop dealer offering brands such as Mazda, Chevrolet, Buick, and so on.
A dealer selling only Ford brand cars, tucks, and SUVs.
A dealer selling only Ford brand cars, tucks, and SUVs.

As you have researched and have secured the financing, you are ready to go to a dealer. As a further selection on what dealer to go to, you should choose a dealer that will match your researched price. If you go to the dealer and you feel you are not getting a better deal, as you anticipated, be prepared to walkout. Don’t forget to negotiate lower your purchase price.

When you do buy a car, it will involve paperwork. Ask for copies of all documents you sign. Get also documents on your car warranty coverage. Read the contract carefully, don't sign unless you agree with all the terms and absolutely sure you want to buy the new car.

Posted on 4/2/2008
by Raj Singh