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Car Buying: Tips for Navigating the Best Deals - Video

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author photo by Autotrader October 2016

Here are some tips and advice on how you can get the best deal when you're shopping for your next new or used car.

The first thing in car buying is to do your homework before you even get to the showroom. Just showing up at the dealership without doing research isn't going to get you the best deal.

Also, you should know your credit score up front. Your credit score helps determine how good of a financing deal you're going to get, which ultimately affects your monthly payment.

Next, pick a dealership that you like. Go with one that's close to your home, because you may have to come back to this location for future service or recalls. Make sure it's convenient, and if you don't feel comfortable there, by all means, leave and try a different one. There are plenty of choices out there.

You should also decide whether or not you actually want to negotiate. Some people don't like negotiating, so they seek out no-haggle or one-price dealerships, where you simply pay the price that's on the sticker, just like when you buy a computer or any other consumer good.

On the other hand, if you like to negotiate, make sure to go at the end of something -- the end of the day, week, month, quarter or even year. You might get a better deal that way, as the salesperson is looking to get one more sale to meet a quota or earn a bonus for selling a certain number of vehicles.

As you pick out the vehicle you want, you'll need to decide if you want to buy or lease. Knowing all this ahead of time will help you enjoy your time at the dealership and make it less stressful -- after all, picking out a new car should be fun. But car buying and car leasing are actually very similar. Leasing is for people who want a new car with the latest technology every 2 to 3 years and don't mind paying for that. With leasing, your payment will be lower, and it will be less expensive short-term. On the other hand, buying will be less expensive over the long term, so if you're planning to keep your car for a long time, make sure that you buy it.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Car Buying: Tips for Navigating the Best Deals - Video - Autotrader