9 Golden Rules for Buying a New Car

The selection of cars in today’s auto market is enough to overwhelm any shopper. Between compacts, hybrids, trucks, crossovers, and all-electric vehicles, finding the right automobile for a individual or family takes time, research, and energy. However, once you find the model you’d like to drive indefinitely, it also takes finesse before and after you head to the dealership to guarantee you get fair terms on financing, trade-ins, and other aspects of the deal.

To help make the process go smoother, the team at Consumer Reports has supplied an exhaustive guide to new car buying. It includes several thousand words of advice aimed at simplifying the transaction and getting you in the right vehicle at the ideal price point. Since that treatise is too lengthy for some tired eyes to tackle, here is a cheat sheet to the venerable consumer agency’s wisdom in the form of nine golden rules for buying a new car.

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1. Start with the lowdown on car loans

You don’t have to know which model you’re buying to figure out how much cash you have on hand and approximately how much you’ll borrow in order to close the deal on a car. Consumer Reports suggests visiting online lending sites to get a picture of local rates before contacting banks and credit unions to compare figures. The idea is to get pre-approved before you show up at a dealership.

Once you’re on a dealer’s lot, don’t fall for any special financing unless you qualify for that specific car. By this point, most car consumers are aware there’s fine print involved in any auto deal. Dealer financing may even be the best deal you get.