10 Tips to Get the Best Deal When Buying a Car

Buying a car is a big investment, and it's important to make sure you get the best deal possible. To do this, you need to be prepared and know what to look for. Here are 10 tips to help you get the best deal when buying a car.First, get pre-approved for a loan before setting foot on a dealership lot. This will give you an idea of how much you can afford and help you negotiate better terms.

Keep it simple at the dealership and don't buy any add-ons. A better way to do this is to get a five-year loan for a new car, and with a used car, you should finance it for only three years.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.According to Autotrader, the best times to buy a car are at the end of the month, during the holiday weekend sales, and at the end of each quarter. The United Services Automobile Association (USAA) recommends going later during the day and during the week to get an even better deal.The Bankrate calculator can help you estimate potential purchase or lease cost savings so you can make an informed decision.

So at the dealership, start with the price of the vehicle you're buying. As an informed buyer, you should be able to quickly reach an agreement with the dealer on the cash price of the new vehicle and the cash value of your trade-in.Don't be afraid to leave or buy the car at a good price without the exchange if you feel that the dealer is lowering the price of your old car. And bring someone who knows a lot about cars if they don't have a lot of experience buying and negotiating a car deal.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. Start your research with these 10 tips to help you find an affordable car that also fits your lifestyle.