Getting rid of that old lemon in exchange for a new ride can be quite exhilarating. But before you drive your new beauty off the lot, make sure you have your finances straight. Car loans can be as difficult to figure out as a Rubik’s Cube, but keeping an eye out for some common blunders can point you down the right road.

Up the down payment

Initially paying down more money can decrease the amount of time that you’re “upside down” on your loan. Find a way to increase your initial down payment on the loan. Trade in your old car or save some more cash before you decide to purchase. If your current vehicle isn’t completely kaput, it would be wise to take some time and save extra cash to increase your initial down payment and decrease your loan amount.

Think beyond the final negotiated price

The final negotiated price on a car loan isn’t always so final. While negotiating, keep in mind you’ll be paying license fees and taxes, which can add up to thousands of dollars in some states. Estimate how much you’ll be paying in license fees and taxes before negotiations begin. That way, you won’t end up paying more than you want.

Never back down

After you’ve negotiated and set an initial price for the loan, it’s important to keep bargaining. The finance manager at the dealership not only will negotiate car loans, but also will push extended warranties and service contracts. Keep in mind that it’s to their benefit to sell you more than just the vehicle. Don’t back down — just continue to bargain.