1. Decide what kind of vehicle best suits your needs and budget. Compare models at Consumers Report.
2. Consider fuel economy. A vehicle that gets more miles per gallon is good for your wallet as well as for the environment.
3. Check out the seller. For car dealers, check with your local consumer protection office and Better Business Bureau. If you're buying from an individual, check the title to make sure you're dealing with the vehicle owner.
4. Take a test drive. Drive at different speeds and check for smooth right and left turns. On a straight stretch, make sure the vehicle doesn't pull to one side.
5. Handle trade-ins and financing separately from your purchase to get the best deal on each. Get a written price quote before you talk about a trade-in or dealer financing.
6. Shop in advance for the best finance deal at your credit union, bank or finance company. Look at the total finance charges and the Annual Percentage Rate (APR), not just the monthly payment.
7. Read and understand every document you are asked to sign. Don't take possession of the car until all paperwork is final. Choose an auto insurance policy that is right for you.
- Courtesy of usa.gov