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Financing


• If you have a trade-in, the time to discuss it with the dealer is after you've negotiated the purchase of the car.

• After you've negotiated a price for a new car, you can decide which dealer to buy from by seeing how much they'll give you for the trade-in.

• Find out what your trade-in is worth by checking the Edmunds.com, kbb.com and autotrader.com. By selling the vehicle yourself, you'll get a price about halfway between average trade-in and average retail. A dealer will give you the trade-in price.

• Finance a car for 48 months or less. With a 60-month loan, the value of the car declines much faster than the loan balance. So for much of the five-year period, you owe more than the vehicle is worth.

• Keep the financing separate from the car-price negotiation, too. When you allow the dealer to arrange financing, terrible things can happen.

• Buy a manufacturer's extended warranty or one from your own auto insurer. Don't buy a third-party contract.

• Don't buy an extended service contract from an automobile dealer or anyone else until you've had time to think about it and shop prices. You do not have to make this decision at the moment you're buying your vehicle.

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