New Cars

You can save thousands of dollars over the lifetime of a car by selecting a model that combines a low purchase price with low depreciation, financing, insurance, gasoline, maintenance, and repair costs.

  • Ask your local librarian for new car guides that contain this information.Having selected a model and options you are interested in, you can save hundreds of dollars by comparison shopping.
  • Get price quotes from several dealers (over the phone or Internet) and let each know you are contacting the others.
  • Remember there is no "cooling off" period on new car sales. Once you have signed a contract, you are obligated to buy the car.

Used Cars

Before buying any used car:

  • Compare the seller's asking price with the average retail price in a "bluebook” or other guide to car prices which can be found at many libraries, banks, and credit unions.
  • Have a mechanic you trust check the car, especially if the car is sold "as is."
  • Consider purchasing a used car from an individual you know and trust. They are more likely than other sellers to charge a lower price and point out any problems with the car.

Auto Leasing

Don't decide to lease a car just because the payments are lower than on a traditional auto loan. The leasing payments are lower because you don't actually own the car.

Leasing a car is very complicated.. When shopping, consider the price of the car (known as the capitalized cost), your trade-in allowance, any down payment, monthly payments, various fees (excess mileage, excess "wear and tear," end-of- lease), and the cost of buying the car at the end of the lease". A valuable source of information about auto leasing can be found in Keys to Vehicle Leasing: A Consumer Guide, which is published by the Federal Reserve Board and Federal Trade Commission..

Gasoline Tips

You can save hundreds of dollars a year by comparing prices at different stations, pumping gas yourself, and using the lowest-octane called for in your owner's manual;.

You can save up to $100 a year on gas by keeping your engine tuned and your tires inflated to their proper pressure:.

Car Repair

Consumers lose billions of dollars each year on unneeded or poorly done car repairs.. The most important step that you can take to save money on these repairs is to find a skilled, honest mechanic.. Before you need repairs, look for a mechanic who:

  • is certified and well established; 
  • has done good work for someone you know;
  • communicates well about repair options and costs.