How Do I:??

How To Buy A New Car

! The states require that you first purchase auto insurance before you receive title to a car. Click here for more info on how to buy insurance.

! Some car dealers require you have a valid in-state driver's license in order to drive the car off the lot. Click here for more information about obtaining a driver's license in your state of residence.

1. Shop around for makes and models of cars that suit your budget, needs, and style. Look in the Yellow Pages for auto dealers or research models at an online site like Autoweb (http://www.autoweb.com) or Greenlight.com (http://www.greenlight.com).

2. Once you find a few makes and models you might like, check their MSRP (manufacturer's suggested retail price) in the Kelly Blue Book. This gives you the recommended price for the car, and gives you a basis for negotiating the price, should you need to:

(You can also find the Kelly Blue Book in your local library).

3. Browse the cars at a dealership. Ask questions, but don't feel pressured to buy anything. At a dealership, the price, features, warranty and extras like air conditioning or anti-lock brakes should be posted on the outside window of the vehicle. Some dealerships offer a "single-price" while others may require that you haggle (negotiate) with the dealer for a lower price.

The final price of the vehicle will include:

  • the car price
  • any interest if you are financing or leasing the car
  • extras and add-ons
  • taxes
  • registration and title fees
  • a lien recording fee (if the car is being leased)
  • any warranties (read about extended warranties and what to watch out for at: )

! The dealer may try to sell you add-ons and an extended warranty. Also, they may try to force you to pay more by claiming your credit report was insufficient to obtain your requested financing. This may or may not be true. Learn more about customer scams at: http://www.carbuyingtips.com/

4. If the car is expensive, you may need "financing" (a car loan). Some places to apply for loans include:

  • The car dealership - you may obtain low interest loans during certain promotions - check t.v. and newspaper ads in your area
  • Your bank - inquire about customer discounts and special rates if you carry more than one type of loan
  • Your credit union - these generally offer low interest rate loans

If your credit report is non-existent in the U.S. or insufficient on which to base a credit decision, you may need to buy a used car instead. They are much cheaper, often at least half the price of a new car, and if you are careful, can be a very good value. Check the section on buying a used car here.

5. Before you buy the car you should get the complete price in writing from the dealer. You can then use that information to negotiate with that or other dealers.

6. Check to see that the make and model has no history of being recalled:

Cartalk.com let's you search online for recalls of different makes and models of cars. The site, based on the popular national public radio program, also offers useful tips and reviews on car buying.

7. Read a useful legal guide to car buying, like Nolo Press' FAQ on buying new cars, including info on "lemon laws" designed to prevent you from buying a car with severe mechanical problems.

Leasing a Car:

In certain situations, for example if you are going to be in the U.S. for less than two years, it may be worth looking into leasing a car. When you lease a car you rent it for a prescribed period of time. The lending rates on leases will generally be higher than those for car purchases, but you will be able to give back the car at the end of the lease period and not have to pay the full price.

The National Automobile Dealers Association online guide includes info on the pros and cons of buying vs. leasing a car.



Buy a New Car?

Buy a Used Car?
Lease a Car?
Rent A Car?
Insure my Car?

Register my Car?

Repair my Car?

Avoid Traffic Tickets?

Avoid Parking Tickets?

Learn to Drive?

Get a Driver's License?