Some Car Buying Facts for Today's Market

You might be wondering if trading in your used car is a good idea now, especially with the government CARS program still in effect. It may be a great time for you to buy, as long as the total cost of owning a new car does not outweigh the cost of continuing to own the car you have now.

Among the factors to consider are: depreciation, interest on financing, taxes, fees, insurance, fuel and maintenance, repairs and possible federal tax credits.

Dealerships are reporting that buyers qualifying for the clunker rebate program are doing less haggling over the sticker price. In their excitement over the $4,500 government rebate, they are forgetting to negotiate. Experts recommend negotiating your best price first, before even telling a salesperson about your clunker trade in.

Don’t forget that you have to make the car payment after the deal is done. A great rebate or dealer incentive (like cash back offers) is terrific, but not if you drive home in a car that will weigh you down with a huge payment that will burden you each month. Before you shop, figure out the ideal amount you can pay per month, as well as any down payment. Also, consider how much you’ll be able to put down on the car. Knowing these facts ahead of time and sticking to them can help you avoid risky impulse buying.

Financial experts suggest not committing more than 15%-19% of your income on transportation. This percentage should be a total of all costs involved, like state registrations, fuel, insurance and maintenance costs. If a new car seems a bit out of your range, look at some great pre-owned cars from individuals or dealerships near you. Many consumers are finding that a newer yet pre-owned car is a great way to save thousands of dollars while still being able to drive a better, newer vehicle.

Finding well cared for, late model, pre-owned cars and trucks has never been easier. There are a number of online aggregator sites featuring vehicles from individuals and dealerships. One of the best sites, , allows visitors to pinpoint their search criteria for new, used, certified used and for sale by owner cars and trucks. In addition to photos, this site also allows you to view high-quality, narrated videos of autos that interest you.

Many automakers are offering great deals but there are signs that those deals may be hard to come by as inventories dwindle because of the cash for clunkers program. The program came on the heels of deep cuts in production by automakers due to economic recession; there simply are not as many cars on the lots as there used to be.

If you decide that you really need to trade in your used car, even if you do not qualify for the CARS program, right now may be a very good time to shop. Weigh your costs and crunch some numbers to find out if one of the great deals out there might be just perfect for you.

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