Do Your Homework for Easier Car Buying

More than half the cars in the United States are bought by women. Despite this, women say buying a car is one of their least satisfying retail experiences.

Buying a car does not have to be a negative experience, says car expert Donna Kane. By doing a little homework, a woman can get the car she wants at a good price and reduce her stress levels.

"Start doing research before you even think of going to a dealer's show room," says Kane. The first thing you should do is determine what you can afford to pay each month and then narrow your choices down to the vehicles that are in that price range. The rule of thumb is that you should expect to pay approximately $25 for every $1,000 financed in the traditional 60 month loan.

Next, research various warranties. A warranty shows how willing a manufacturer is to stand behind the cars and trucks it makes. The more comprehensive the warranty, such as a 10-year/100,000-mile warranty, the less you are at risk.

Before you go into a dealership, know the numbers, which means knowing what the dealer paid for a vehicle compared to the actual sticker price, which is also called the manufacturer's suggested retail price or MSRP. You can get this information online at or look for a copy of the Kelly Blue Book or Consumer Guide magazine at a library or bookstore.

Take your homework with you to the dealership, says Kane, who works for Hyundai Motor America. While there, check out the fit of the car. Is there enough leg and headroom? Are the controls and accessories within easy reach? And, make sure you test-drive the model that you are thinking about buying. It makes no sense to testdrive a model with all the super deluxe options if that is not what you are going to buy.

For additional car-buying tips, call 1-800-633-5151 or visit on the Internet.

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