you might want to think about investing it in a new vehicle. It can be cost effective to keep driving a reliable older car for as long as it still runs well, but newer cars have a lot to offer in terms of efficient mileage, safety features, high tech options, and resale value. One thing that might keep you in your old car is the headache and hassle of going to car dealerships and shopping for a new car. For many people, an afternoon with a car salesperson is on par with a visit to the dentist in terms of things they’re looking forward to. Car buying doesn’t have to be a stressful, unpleasant experience, though. You can take charge of the car shopping process and drive off in a great car for which you didn’t spend a penny more than you wanted to, it just takes a willingness to do some homework and take some preparatory steps. If you’re ready to shop for a new car, here are three things you can do to make the shopping process work to your benefit.

 

  1. Get financing ahead of time

 

Rather than accept whatever financing terms the dealership can offer you through their bank, go to a bank or lending institution that you know and trust and get yourself pre-approved for a car loan. This way you’ll get the terms and interest rates you want, and you’ll have a solid plan for how much you’re willing and able to spend. You’ll also have more leverage and negotiating power when you’re dealing with salespeople when they know that you have a loan in hand and can take it right to another dealership if you don’t like what they’re offering.

 

  1. Know what you’re in the market for

 

Are you buying a commuter vehicle? A family car? A work truck? Do you know what manufacturer you want to go with, or are you at a complete loss? Doing research beforehand with online car buying sites can help you sort through your criteria and find a make and model that suits you, and the reviews and comparison tools you’ll find on those sites can help you make a final decision you can be confident in.

 

  1. Be willing to play the game

 

Don’t just take any offer the dealership gives you. If you’ve done enough research beforehand, you’ll know exactly how much the car you’re interested should cost, and what price they should be able to offer it to you for while still making a profit. Don’t get attached to any particular car, dealership, or salesperson. If you don’t feel like you’re getting a great deal, walk away! They’ll either try to win you back by offering you bigger savings, or you can give your business to a dealership that’s more willing to satisfy your wishes.

 

Car buying can be an empowering and even fun experience if you approach it with the right attitude and knowledge!

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