People also spend up to 19 hours researching for between one and three months before making a car purchase or even selling a car for cash. The average car buyer considers up to five cars before making a decision to start to see cars in person and take them for test drives.

Test drives are essential

It is very important to test drive the car before you make a decision. You need to see how it handles. You need to check if it the right size to meet your needs. Is the vehicle set up in a way that is comfortable for you?

Get the vehicle checked out by a mechanic you trust

While you’re at it, it is a smart idea to get the car checked out by a trusted mechanic. And while car salesmen have a reputation, if the salesperson balks at you having the vehicle checked over, it is a good sign to walk away from the deal. If your car has mechanical issues, another route is to get an offer from a car buyer online.

Known Brands

Some say that variety is the spice of life, but 43 percent of people stick with the same brand with every car purchase. According to recent research from Toyota, Toyota, Chevrolet, and Honda are the three most popular car brands in the United States.


As much as some people demonstrate brand loyalty when it comes to car purchases, they do not show the same loyalty to dealerships. Many people do not enjoy the negotiation and small talk necessary to complete a deal on a car and do not maintain relationships with the salesperson or dealership. And since the average age of a vehicle in the United States is 11 years, it’s not a relationship that gets a lot of attention. Dealerships will also buy your used car or give you a trade-in value for your car.

Finance on your own

Many people start their search for a vehicle assuming they will get financing through the dealer. However, the low interest deals advertised often only apply to those with perfect credit who are able to put money down. You should find your own auto loan for two reasons. First, you will probably get a better deal directly from your bank. Second, when a dealership works on your financing, they put out several mini-applications to their partner lenders on your behalf. If you visit a few dealers and they all look at financing options for you, you end up with several hits on your credit. Your bank will only run your credit once.

Be prepared to walk away

Before you make your purchase, know what you want, what you can afford to pay, and how much you would prefer to pay. If the dealer is unable to negotiate or meet your needs, walk away from the deal. You do not want to be stuck paying too much for a car, even if it is your dream car.

Don’t forget about insurance

And while we are talking about affordability, don’t forget to factor in any changes in the cost of your auto insurance when you consider what you can afford to pay for a car each month.

Check the extras at closing

And finally, when you are closing on your deal be prepared to say no to a lot of extras that the dealer will try to add on to your purchase. While a general warranty is a good idea, and there will be extras that you negotiate as part of your purchase, for example, a full size spare tire, don’t get stuck paying for services or luxuries that you don’t need or want..