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Car Buying TipsEverything you need to know about buying a new car

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Car Buying Checklist

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Stay focused and organized with the NewCars.com Car Buying Checklist. Keep track of everything you need to know when buying your new car.

  • Get your current car's trade-in value with our Black Book Used Car Appraisal tool.

  • If you opt to sell your old car yourself, find out its Private Party price and list it on Cars.com. Or, get competing offers from dealers to buy your car using Cars.com's Quick Offer™.

  • Confident auto shopping begins with checking your free Experian® Credit Report & FICO® Score.

  • Check with your bank or credit union for their best loan rates so you can compare them with the dealer's best rate.

  • Calculate the monthly payment you can afford — 20% of your monthly income or lower is a good starting point.

  • Figure out how much cash you can put into a down payment — remember, the larger the down payment, the lower your monthly payments will be.

  • Use a payment calculator to determine the price range of new car you can afford, based on all of the above data.

  • Once you have settled on a car or two, go for a test drive to make sure they're right for you. But remember, DO NOT start negotiating yet.

  • Get dealers to compete for your business by requesting free Internet Price Quotes. Often, you can complete your negotiations from the comfort of your home without even stepping onto a lot.

  • Visit the dealership, sign the papers, and drive home in your new car!

Download the Car Buying Checklist