If you've completed Steps 1 and 2, you're more than halfway to a good deal. Now you'll need some tips on how to narrow the selection of used cars and/or understand what happens at dealerships before you're in one. The vehicle's sale price -- and not the monthly payment -- is your key focus, but you'd best study up on trade-ins, financing and insurance (F&I), service contracts and all the other extras that dealers offer.

Negotiating With Dealers
Preparation is the key to
productive negotiations. Our guide explains how dealerships work and addresses the issue of trade-ins.
TIP: Keep the negotiations for the sale price, your trade-in and the financing separate.
Payment Calculators
You’ll find these handy calculators throughout the site. Use them to see how the selling price, down payment, loan terms and interest rates will affect your monthly payments.
For Used Cars
How to Buy a Used Car – Our guide explains how to narrow your choices on the phone and how to inspect cars in person.
A prepared buyer can rule out the major duds, saving money on professional inspections.
Kelley Blue Book Used-Car Values – This tool can help you determine if a seller’s asking price is fair.
For New Cars
The Window Sticker – A guide to understanding new-car window stickers.
TIP: See the Additional Charges and Stickers page to distinguish dealer add-ons.
Rebates and Incentives – Cash-back and financing offers can lower your selling price. Check for updates before heading to the dealership.
Print out the incentives information to bring along to showrooms.
Last updated on 12/13/04