- Research the vehicle you are interested in buying before you shop - know the average price along with the safety record, vehicle value and any consumer feedback on the vehicle.
- Shop with an objective friend to keep you from making any rushed decisions.
- Be sure to factor in insurance rates and mileage ratings to the cost of ownership – they can greatly affect your per month cost of the vehicle.
- Research financing rates on your own – be sure you are getting the lowest rate possible. The lower the rate, the lower your payments will be.
- Save time by getting pre-approved – apply online.
- Consider more than just the monthly payment – know what the interest rate will be along with the length of loan and any taxes and fees.
- Take a lengthy test drive – even if it's a new vehicle.
- Obtain a vehicle history report on any pre-owned vehicle – this will alert you to any prior problems with the vehicle.
- Thoroughly inspect any pre-owned vehicle – or have it looked over by an experienced mechanic.
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For more tips, check out our video series on how to buy a car.