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When it comes to buying a car, you want to make a well-informed decision.  Here are some tips to avoid making a costly mistake: 

Check out different vehicles. Several Internet sites can help you compare features and prices on new motor vehicles.

  • Go to www.popularmechanics.com  to see the 7 best sites for buying or selling a car online.  
  • ?Visit www.truecar.com to see what others paid for cars you're interested in.
  • Two popular magazines offer information in print and online concerning vehicle performance, service and safety: Consumer Reports (www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars.htm) and Motor Trend (www.motortrend.com).
  • Research the dealer’s price for the car and options. It’s easier to get the best price when you know what the dealer paid for a vehicle. The dealer invoice price is available at a number of websites and in printed pricing guides. Consumer Reports offers the wholesale price. Lower than the invoice price, this figure factors in dealer incentives from a manufacturer and is a more accurate estimate of what a dealer is paying for a vehicle.

  • Find out if the manufacturer is offering rebates that will lower the cost. Two websites that offer this information are www.carsdirect.com and www.autopedia.com/html/Rebate.html.

  • Get price quotes from several dealers. Find out if the amounts quoted are the prices before or after rebates are deducted.

  • Avoid high-profit, low-value extras such as credit insurance, extended warranties, auto club memberships, rust proofing and upholstery finishes. You do not have to purchase credit insurance in order to get a loan.