10 Tips and Tricks for Buying a Car

Buying a car can be a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. With the right tips and tricks, you can get the car of your dreams without breaking the bank. Here are 10 tips and tricks to help you get the best deal on your next car purchase.First and foremost, 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 will help you stay within your budget.

It's also important to keep it simple at the dealership. Don't buy any add-ons that you don't need, as this can quickly add up and put you in debt. Beware of six- or seven-year long-term auto loans, as these can be difficult to pay off. Instead, opt for a shorter loan term if possible.

Additionally, inform sellers in advance that you won't take them for a walk. Do everything you can to negotiate the car loan and lower the purchase price. Start with a ridiculous number and move backwards. Car dealers are known for offering attractive monthly payments to prospective buyers, but make sure to read the fine print.

If this payment is attached to a 72-month loan, then it's not that attractive at all. It's also important to test drive the car before making a purchase. Ninety percent of people who buy a new car try it first, so don't be among the 10% who don't.When test driving, make sure to focus on comfort. There are some cars that you won't feel comfortable driving with, so if this is the case, go ahead and look for another option.

Additionally, there are many websites that offer great deals on cars, such as TrueCar, Edmunds and Car Gurus. These sites offer 7-day test drives and free delivery of up to 100 miles.When creating your budget for buying a car, make sure that the price of the car sticker is equal to or less than 20% of your annual pre-tax income. It's also important to protect yourself from recalled cars by researching any potential purchases thoroughly. The Used Car Consumer Bill of Rights Education Campaign is a great resource for this.If you own your “free and clean” car, which means you bought it with cash or repaid the car loan, it certainly has value.

If you're looking for a TL; DR (too long; I didn't read it), then my final recommendation is to buy a historically reliable car from Mazda, Toyota or Hyundai. These cars will feel like new at 15,000 miles but will cost 20% to 30% less.It's also important to get a Pre-Purchase Inspection (PPI) before buying any used car. This is cheap and highly recommended by the Federal Trade Commission and Bar Association. Additionally, if you buy from TrueCar or another website, their prices are guaranteed so there will be no surprises on delivery.When negotiating with dealerships, call back the next day and negotiate over the phone or follow this trick that dealers hate to secure a minimum price.

It's also important to remember that the price of a car doesn't end at its fixed price; you also have to pay licenses, registration fees, taxes, fuel, financing, depreciation, routine maintenance, surprise maintenance, parking and more.Finally, if you're looking at certified pre-owned cars make sure to read all of the exclusions and restrictions before making any decisions. Additionally, when trading in your current vehicle make sure to get an accurate estimate of its value as this will directly affect how much cash you'll need for your new car purchase.By following these tips and tricks when buying your next car you'll be able to get the best deal possible without breaking the bank.