25 Car Buying Tips that Will Save You Money in 2024

Twenty-five tips to help car buyers save money when buying a vehicle.

Young woman thinking about buying a new car in a car dealership showroom.

Buying a car can be an exciting experience, but it can also be overwhelming and stressful. In 2024, the automotive industry is expected to grow significantly, meaning car buyers will have more options than ever.

However, with this the increased selection comes a greater need for research and knowledge to make an informed purchase. Whether you’re looking for a new or used car, it’s essential to understand the factors that affect the car’s value, safety, and reliability.

In this article, we’ll provide 25 car-buying tips to help you navigate the market and make the best possible decision for your needs and budget.

From researching the car’s features and financing options to negotiating the price and checking the vehicle history, we’ll cover everything you need to know to buy a car in 2024 with confidence.

25 Car-Buying Tips That Will Save You Money

1. Research:  This is the number one tip, and many car buyers neglect to complete it. Car dealers may take advantage of you if you show up at a car dealership unprepared and uneducated. Before making any decisions, thoroughly research the car you want. Read reviews, compare features, and get free dealer price quotes to compare prices in your area.

2. Budget:  Determine your budget before shopping for a car and figure out how much car you can comfortably afford. Consider all the costs of owning a vehicle, such as insurance, fuel, and maintenance.

3. Credit Score:  Check your credit score and history before applying for financing. A good credit score can help you secure better loan terms.

4. Financing Options:  Explore financing options such as dealership financing, bank loans, and credit unions to find the best deal for you.

5. Pre-Approval:  Get pre-approved for an auto loan before visiting a dealership. This can help you negotiate a better price and avoid high-pressure sales tactics.

Step-by-step walkthrough on how to buy a new car | New Car Buying Cheat Sheet

6. Trade-In:  If you’re trading in your old car, research its value beforehand. You can use free online tools to get an estimate of what your trade-in is worth.

7. Negotiation:  Negotiate the price of the car with the salesperson. Be firm but respectful, and don’t be afraid to walk away if the price isn’t right.

8. Discounts:  Look for any available manufacturer rebates, student or military discounts, or loyalty rewards. Many car brands have this information posted on their websites.

9. Test Drive:  Always test drive the car before buying it. Even if the vehicle is brand new, you want to ensure it rides and drives how you want it to. A brand-new Jeep Wrangler will not feel or ride the same way as a Honda Accord. Pay attention to how the vehicle handles, the noise level, and how comfortable it is.

10. Warranty:  Look for a car with a good manufacturer’s warranty. A more extended warranty can save you money on repairs in the long run.

11. Safety:  Check the car’s safety rating and features, such as airbags, anti-lock brakes, and backup cameras.

12. Fuel Efficiency:  Consider the car’s fuel efficiency. A vehicle with good gas mileage can save you money on fuel costs.

13. Maintenance Costs:  Look into the car’s maintenance costs. Some vehicles require more frequent maintenance, which can add up over time.

14. Resale Value:  Consider the car’s resale value. Some cars hold their value better than others, affecting your long-term costs.

15. Timing:  Consider the best time to buy a car. The end of the month, quarter, or year can be an excellent time to negotiate a lower price.

16. Dealership Reputation:  Before choosing a car dealership to do business with. Research the dealership’s reputation before visiting. Look for reviews and ratings online. You can also ask for other people’s experiences on social media channels.

17. Salesperson:  Choose a salesperson you feel comfortable with and who is knowledgeable about the car you’re interested in.

18. Hidden Fees:  When buying a car, it’s essential to be aware of hidden fees that can add to the overall cost of the vehicle. Dealership fees, also known as “dealer fees,” are additional charges that dealerships may add to the price of the car, such as delivery fees or preparation fees. Documentation fees, on the other hand, are fees for processing the paperwork associated with the sale of the car. Advertising fees are costs associated with the dealership’s advertising campaigns. While some fees may be legitimate, others may be negotiable or unnecessary. Be sure to ask about any fees upfront and get them in writing to avoid surprises at the time of purchase.

19. Insurance: Get insurance quotes before buying a car. Insurance costs can vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle.

20. Extended Warranties:  Consider whether you need an extended warranty. These can add to the overall cost of the car but can also provide peace of mind.

See what your vehicle is worth before contacting a car dealership.

21. Cash vs. Financing:  Consider whether paying cash or financing the car makes more sense. Paying cash can save you money on interest, but financing can help you build credit.

22. Car History:  Check the car’s history report for accidents or other issues before buying a used car. You can use services like AutoCheck to get this information.

23. Accessories:  Avoid purchasing unnecessary accessories or add-ons that can add to the cost of the car.

25. Final Inspection:  Before finalizing the sale, do a vehicle walkaround and thoroughly inspect the car you’re buying. Look for any damage or defects that you may have missed during.

25. Read Everything:  Whether it’s the contract, warranty, or vehicle history report, make sure to read and understand all of the documents associated with your car purchase. This will help you avoid any surprises or misunderstandings and ensure you’re making an informed decision about your investment. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or seek clarification if there’s something you don’t understand. Taking the time to review all of the details carefully can save you time, money, and headaches in the long run.

In Conclusion

Buying a car in 2024 can be an exciting and overwhelming experience, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. By following these 25 car-buying tips, you can confidently approach the process and make an informed decision about your investment.

From researching the car’s features and financing options to negotiating the price and checking the vehicle history, these tips cover everything you need to know to navigate the growing automotive market.

Remember to stay informed, ask questions, and trust your instincts when purchasing. With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to finding the perfect car for your needs and budget.

About the author
Carlton Wolf is the author and founder of Auto Cheat Sheet.My name is Carlton Wolf, and I’ve been in the car business since 1994, both retail and wholesale. I created the Auto Cheat Sheet to better educate buyers about the deceptive sales practices many dealerships use nationwide. Please understand that not all car dealers are dishonest. However, you never know who you’ll be dealing with, though. I’m willing to share my knowledge and experience with anyone who listens. Keep in mind that I’m a car guy, not a writer.