CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money 
Your Money > Autos
graphic

Car-buying commandments
Nine rules to keep you out of car-shopping hell. We'll skip the "Thou shalts."
February 19, 2004: 11:45 AM EST
By Lawrence Ulrich, Money Magazine

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Car shopping can be intimidating. But following a few simple rules can help you get the best deal without boosting your blood pressure.

1. Know the numbers

Whether you use MONEY magazine's car guide or other resources, seek out actual transaction prices, dealer invoices, resale values and incentives in your area. Top auto websites include Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

2. Separate the car from the deal

Don't get distracted by come-ons like cash rebates and low-interest financing. Find the ideal car in your price range before you shop -- or at least whittle down your options to a short list of three. Then drive them all, make an informed decision and stick to it. Only then should you look for the best deal.

3. Understand the dark side of rebates

The very best cars, like the Toyota Corolla, are top values even at the full retail price. Other cars require rebates simply because most people wouldn't buy them otherwise. That discount can lower your monthly payment. But expect every penny of that rebate, and often more, to disappear from your car's long-term resale value.

4. Shop the money

Autos
36 month new5.91%
48 month new5.98%
60 month new6.03%
72 month new3.78%
36 month used6.31%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Check your credit rating and loan rates in your area. It's a good idea to get pre-approved for a bank or credit union loan. (Just keep it to yourself while shopping; it's harder to get the lowest price if the dealer knows he won't make money on financing.) If the dealer offers a better loan rate, you can always take it.

5. Play the dealers

Solicit bids from several dealers on the model you want, including options, using invoice and target prices as a baseline. The best dealerships will quickly offer a fair price to anyone who's serious about playing the field.

6. Put it to the test

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Car-Buying Commandments - Feb. 19, 2004
CNN/Money