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Buying a car is arguably one of the largest purchases you’ll make several times over your lifetime. In 2017, the average cost of a new car is more than $34,000, and that’s not including fuel, maintenance and car insurance. 

It’s no surprise then, that buying a new car can make you feel both excited and worried at the same time. No matter how much research you do and how prepared you are to take on the car dealership, haggling on the price is perhaps the worst part of the car buying process.

But it doesn’t always have to be that way. Before you buy a new car, arm yourself with expert car buying secrets that can save you a significant amount of money off the sticker price. Mike McInerney, a 30-year auto industry veteran, lists some commonsense steps every car shopper should consider before signing on the dotted line.

Car Buying Secrets To Save You Money

Compare, Compare, Compare

Although you love the Chevy Equinox for example, you might find that the Honda CR-V will give you more bang for your buck. To save the most money, compare several brands that offer similar styles so you won’t have to sacrifice what you want to get the best deal. 

If you buy your new car online, be sure to compare prices from hundreds of dealers and sort by price to find the best deal.  At Deliver My Ride, we make comparison shopping easy because we aggregate data from multiple sources to let you compare models, brands, and incentives from every car maker.

---Read More: How to get a good price on a new car, without haggling!---

Make a List of Musts and Wants

Before heading online to research car options, make a list of features you actually need and are non-negotiable and those that would be nice to have but aren’t a deal-breaker.

For example, space for car seats, sports equipment and camping gear are something you need while leather seats or a fancy trim aren’t necessary.

However, be flexible. It’s not unusual to get more than you ask for when equipment is packaged together. A moonroof might be included in a package with leather seats and a satellite radio, but discounted when combined in a package so it’s essentially free.

Always Look For Incentives

The biggest discounts are served up by the car makers, not the car dealers. Several websites list monthly incentives from each manufacturer which can save you thousands. 

Incentives however, can vary drastically among trim levels and whether you buy or lease.  So be sure to read the fine print to understand if the vehicle with the deepest discounts has the equipment you want and is available for your type of financing. 

At Deliver My Ride we automatically pull in all available incentives that you’re eligible for to ensure you can take advantage of all deals available and see the real cost before you purchase your new car.

Want to get the latest deals and incentives delivered directly to your inbox?  Join our Insider's Deal list.

Calculate the Real Cost of Owning
The listed price of a new car is quite different from the price it will cost you to own the car. You must take into consideration interest, depreciation, auto insurance, taxes, fees, gas, maintenance and repair costs over a certain amount of years to get the real value to own the car.     

Experts say your monthly car payment and auto expenses should be equal to 20 percent of your take home pay but if that’s not realistic, consider cutting back on other expenses. You can also check out Edmund’s affordability calculator to budget for your new car.

---Read more: First Time New Car Buyer? 8 Things You Need To Know---

Cash, Finance, or Lease

Buying a new car with cash isn’t an option for everyone, but interest rates combined with depreciation values can significantly increase the lifetime value of owning your car.

If you can’t pay for your new car in cash, get pre-approved for a car loan so you can compare the dealers’ interest rates with other auto loan options.  In fact, dealers work with local finance sources like Wells Fargo, Chase, local credit unions and captive sources (Ford Motor Credit, Toyota Credit, GMAC, i.e.), and all rates are publicly available.  If you don’t have tier 1 credit however, your rate will likely be higher.

Be sure to educate yourself on local tax ramifications for leasing in your zip code because payments can vary substantially from county to county.

When buying a vehicle through Deliver My Ride, you can easily compare all of your financing options with all local, state and dealer fees included.

Buying a new car doesn’t have to take up a large portion of your budget. With these tips, you can afford the new car you need without it setting you back. 

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