Buying a Car: The Best Ways to Get the Best Deal

Buying a car is one of the most important investments you'll ever make. With so many models to choose from and different ways to pay for it, it can be a daunting process. To make sure you get the best deal, it's important to do your research and be prepared. Cash is the easiest and most economical way to buy a car, but financing can also be an option if you don't have enough money upfront.

When it comes to financing, Reed and Van Alst suggest starting with the price of the vehicle you're buying. Do everything you can to negotiate the car loan and lower the purchase price. Start with a ridiculous number and move backwards. If the seller makes you an offer that includes a monthly payment of a certain amount based on a 60-month loan, tell them that you want the same payment with a 48-month loan.

A better way to do this, Reed says, is a five-year loan for a new car, and with a used car, you should finance it for only three years, that's 36 months. One reason that makes sense, he says, is that if your used car breaks down and it's not worth fixing, let's say the transmission goes completely, you're more likely to have repaid the loan by that time. Car financing allows you to pay for a car in installments, which could make it more affordable than buying it outright. Just make sure you don't look into your savings or your emergency fund to buy a front-line car.

The Bankrate calculator can help you estimate potential purchase or lease cost savings so you can make an informed decision. 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. Do not forget to inform sellers in advance that they will not take you for a walk. Ninety percent of people who buy a new car try it first. Don't be among the 10% who don't.

You want to test the car for many reasons, but comfort should be the most important thing in your mind. 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. Buying a new car can be easier than ever through websites like Carvana.

The process has three major benefits: no interest payments; no upsells; and no haggling over prices. Most new cars have a defense-to-defense warranty that covers at least three years and 36,000 miles, along with a powertrain warranty that typically lasts up to 60,000 miles. The powertrain warranty covers all parts that make the car drivable, such as the engine, transmission and suspension. Most experts agree that the cost of buying and leasing a car is about the same for the first few years. To avoid common car-buying mistakes in today's market, there are some proven steps you'll want to take: determine how much you can spend; decide what type of car is right for your driving habits; research vehicles; check manufacturer discounts; negotiate prices; research current cars' values; test drive; and consider warranties.