- Step 1: Set a budget Set a budget. If you're going to get financing, figure out exactly how much you can afford to pay per month.
- TIP: Don't forget the costs of owning the car, like insurance, gas, parking and storage, and maintenance, which will depend on the model you choose.
- Step 2: Decide the basics Decide the basics. Do you want a small, fuel-efficient car, or a larger car that can haul a lot of passengers and cargo from place to place? A two-door or four-door? Four cylinders or a more powerful six?
- TIP: If you purchase a hybrid vehicle, you can receive incentives on your income taxes.
- Step 3: Find models Now that you have a basic idea of the kind of car you want, find models that fit your criteria.
- Step 4: Compare models Nowadays, comparing models head-to-head in categories like safety, fuel economy, and reliability is as easy as hitting a few keys. Just go online and find one of the many web sites that provide this information.
- Step 5: Schedule test drives Once you've winnowed the possibilities down to a dozen or so cars, set aside a weekend to test-drive them.
- TIP: Test-drive as many cars as you can on the same day to make comparisons easier.
- Step 6: Time to negotiate Now that you've settled on a car, it's time to negotiate with the dealer.
- FACT: The average buyer keeps a new car for five and a half years.
You Will Need
- A clear idea of what you want and what you need