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12 Steps to Getting the Best Deal on a New Car

Step 3. Consider ownership costs.

(Audi Press AG)

(Audi Press AG)


Getting the best deal on a new vehicle involves more than just negotiating a low purchase price. An astute owner who pays attention to long-term ownership costs can save considerable money on a car or truck over the typical five-year ownership period. For starters, choose a model that has an excellent resale value. You can assess a vehicle’s future worth by checking its “residual” rating, which is usually expressed as a percentage of the original retail price after two or three years. The differences here could add up to several thousand dollars depending on the make, model and price, though they’re usually less pronounced over an extended ownership period of five or more years. You can obtain these estimates either by calling a local car-leasing agency or consulting an online price guide.

Find out in advance what you’ll pay for insurance on competing models, and shop around to find the lowest rates. While premiums are based largely on an owner’s age, marital status, address and driving record, some vehicles are inherently cheaper to insure than others, based on their claims histories. For example, sports cars and pricey luxury models are typically the most-expensive types of vehicles to insure, with family-minded minivans and crossovers generally being the cheapest. Also consider the cash you’ll sink into a car or truck’s gas tank by comparing various models’ fuel economy ratings at www.fueleconomy.gov. For example, the difference between a car that gets an estimated 26 mpg in combined city/highway driving and one that nets 33 mpg, will amount to a savings of $450 a year, based on 15,000 miles driven and gas at $3.67 per gallon. That amounts to a difference of $2,250 over five years.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]