A Car Buying Checklist

Review your financial situation to determine what you can comfortably afford in your car purchase. Check your credit to make certain that no problems or mistakes exist. Determine a maximum payment or purchase price and etch it in stone--dealers and salespeople will be doing their best to bump you off it!

Spend some time doing research on the various models of vehicles available. Make comparisons based on what you need rather than simply what you want. Your budget will be grateful!

Eliminate any models that do not suit your needs before you begin your car shopping excursions. Don't waste time on vehicles that won't "work" in your situation.

When you have it narrowed to a few models, ask friends, co-workers or relatives who own them about their experiences with the cars they own. Consult automotive publications for road tests and service histories (this will help you to eliminate the "duds").

Do your financial comparisons first. Talk to your bank or credit union and get their terms and rates.

Develop a gameplan to make most efficient use of your time (and money). You'll find lots of information on this web site.

Getting a price quote may help to simplify the process for you. You may even be able to handle the entire transaction--from ordering to delivery--online.

Watch the cost of your total ownership experience--including insurance, warranties and repairs and maintenance. Maximize your savings here or run the risk of losing what you saved on the purchase!

Take your time. Don't rush to buy the first vehicle you see. Take a deep breath and consult your comparisons and your gameplan. If necessary, visit different dealerships to compare prices and service.

When everything is right--the car, the dealership, and the price, relax and buy the car. If you have done your preparation, there is no need to agonize needlessly. Begin to enjoy the car!