1. Ask questions, lots of questions. Try to ask sensible questions that will enable you to base your decisions on solid ground. But don't be afraid to just ask and only stop when all your concerns have been properly addressed.
2. Do not let emotion drive you. Pretty cars with all the bells and whistles can blind you to the truth. More often than not you will end up paying more than you need to if you buy with emotion. Be impartial and see the car for what it is and not what you may have fallen in love with.
3. Know exactly what you want before you put a single foot inside the dealership door. An open mind can be easily manipulated, and usually not in your favor. Use brochures, etc, beforehand to determine exactly what you want within your budget, and don't be swayed by smooth talk.
4. Talk to the dealer about the price and not the payments. Dealers who keep referring to the "easy" payments could be avoiding the issue of overall price, and you need to know why. Do your homework and you will know exactly what price fits into a payment plan to fit your budget. But if you focus on payment, you may end up paying more than you bargained for.
5. Know when the time has come to make a decision. That decision could be to walk away, or it could be to close the deal. You should constantly monitor how you feel about the offer being made to you. If it all feels right, then stay with it and see it through. But if you get even just a tiny twinge of something not quite right, be prepared to walk away.
Buying a car is not always easy. It's not something most of us do very often and we all want to make the best use of our money. But with sensible and careful planning, and an awareness of the five points above, you can buy the exact right car for you at the exact right price for you. Happy motoring!
About the author:
Jack Hill is an automotive journalist with a passion for cars of every type and size, which he adequately illustrates at his website: http://www.actcars.comHis main delight is driving his sports car through quiet country lanes, but he feels equally at home driving his wife and three boisterous young sons around in the family saloon.