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If you’re in the market for a new car, before heading over to the dealership, you might want to checkout The Simple Dollar’s ten steps to maximize your car deal. According to The Simple Dollar, “If you really want to maximize your next auto purchase especially if you’re looking to buy a late model used car, here are ten steps to follow to make that purchase a reality.” The following are my favorites from the list:

2. Research the correct value of your trade-in. Know what your car is worth. There are ample places to research it online, but be aware that the “sell” price and the “trade” price are two different beasts. You can probably get more by selling the car yourself, but it requires some additional legwork. Either way, don’t go on the lot expecting to trade without having any idea what your car is worth.

4. Be aware of any dealer-specific offers. In areas where dealers are competing, one dealer might have some special offers in order to attract customers. Know what these are before you go on the lot. My favorite one was when a local dealer had a “$500 off” coupon in the paper. A friend of mine went in and negotiated the car price before anything else and when the deal was basically finished, he whipped out the coupon. The dealer sadly agreed to it; it turned out that the coupons were seen as an “advertising expense.” He wound up with a new car below factory invoice.

Do you have any tips that didn’t make the list? Tell us what worked for you in the comments.

Ten steps to maximize your car deal – [The Simple Dollar]

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