There's something I've recommended for years when it comes to car buying that people who buy online are not doing.

The Detroit News reports that when people buy a car online for a set price, many of them never test drive it, or only do it in a perfunctory way. The problem is you don't know what it will be like day to day!

Years ago, there was a particular car that I wanted to buy. I happened to be on a trip to San Diego and the rental car that I got for four days was the very one I wanted to buy. Well, it turned out to be the biggest disappointment car, a real rotten egg. If I went to dealership with new car fever, I would have had a real case of buyer's remorse.

So my advice is go rent a car for a weekend before you buy it. Put it through its paces. See if you want to get married to it for 10 years.

I ordered my Nissan Leaf 21 months before I got it. Thankfully, I drove it in my TV work, but if not for that, I would never have even driven in one. Obviously I need to do a better job of following my own advice!

By the way, my electric car is neat, but for most people it will be other things that really save gas and money. For example, I read a report that Toyota, the world leader in hybrids, and BMW, one of two leaders in diesels, will begin sharing engine technology and learning from each other.

Imagine if you made a diesel hybrid, you could get 100 miles per gallon!!

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to save more, spend less and avoid getting ripped off. View More Articles

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