Shopping for a car should include online searches and dealer visits — and looking for the best deals on financing and insurance, too.

After you’ve determined how much car you can afford, it’s time to start shopping. Many people begin their research online, then visit a dealer. There they might learn about rebates and dealer incentives. A new trend is to use an intermediary to do the searching for you. This chapter will explain all of the options available to the buyer, as well as how to shop for financing and car insurance.

What can you expect to learn from this chapter:

  • Researching vehicles online

    Manufacturer sites, independent sites, government sites — you can find tons of information on the Internet.

  • New-car shopping on the Web

    Nearly 70 percent of car buyers begin their shopping on the Web. We’ll tell you what you can learn from each kind of site.

  • Value of rebates and incentives

    Knowing what rebates and dealer incentives are available will help you make your selection. Here’s where to find that information.

  • Using an intermediary

    Is there an advantage to using a broker or an auto buying service? We explain what services they offer and whether they’re worth the fees.

  • Used-car shopping on the Web

    The Web has made it much easier to learn the history of a used car. Plus, we offer a list of questions to ask any used-car seller.

  • Line up your financing

    If you’ve already got your financing in place, you’ll be in a better negotiating position with the dealer. Here’s a look at all of your financing options.

  • Decision time: Buy or lease?

    Our calculators can help you determine whether you should lease or buy that new car.

  • Check insurance costs first

    Your car insurance premium shouldn’t be a shock to you, so check out these Web sites to get rate quotes before you buy a car.