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It can be difficult to part with a car you’ve been driving for years and grown to love

but there comes a time in every vehicle’s life when it needs to be traded in for a newer, better, more reliable model. If your current ride is showing its age and racking up expensive repair costs, it’s probably past time you upgraded to a new car. Going through the hassle of visiting dealerships, negotiating with salespeople, and figuring out your financing options for a new car may be the last thing you feel like doing, but it’s all worth it when you can drive off in a new car that’s safer, more fuel efficient, and has all the latest high tech features and safety improvements. Buying a new car doesn’t have to be a baffling ordeal. With a little advance planning and research, you can turn it into a process that’s nearly worry-free. Just take a few of these notes into account as you prepare to start shopping for your next new car.


  1. Figure out what kind of car you want


Do some research online and you can get all sorts of information on pricing, reliability, performance comparisons, consumer reviews, and other metrics that can help you make a thoroughly informed decision on what kind of car you should get. It’s also important to have a solid idea of how the car will fit into your lifestyle. If you’re going to be using it for work, it might need a lot of cargo room; if you’re growing a family, you’ll want to make sure you can put in car seats safely, and so on.


  1. Locate dealerships


Don’t just zero in on the only local dealership and never go anywhere else. Online car buyer’s guides can help you find other dealerships in your area, and it’s worth going a little out of your way to find a better deal or see if a sales department is willing to improve on an offer you’ve gotten from a rival dealership.


  1. Get your loan ahead of time


Do you think the bank that the dealership works with is going to offer you a loan with the most favorable possible terms and interest rates for you, the buyer? Not likely! Visit your own bank or lender first and get yourself pre-approved for a loan that you can walk into the dealership with, and you’ll be making deals with financial confidence and strong leverage.


  1. Play hardball


Don’t be afraid to ask for price reductions, walk away from a bad offer, or take your business elsewhere. If the sales people know you’re not desperate to drive off in a car right away, they might be more willing to offer you savings and bonuses to try and get you to give them the sale.


Buying a car in a smart and knowledgeable way can take some extra time and work, but it’s well worth it when you can drive off in the car you really wanted, bought for a price you can afford.

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