Sean blogs yesterday about Top 10 Tips for Buying a New Car (and in under 3 hours door to door). Considering that buying a car is one of the most expensive purchases people make next to homes, this is a great primer for those of you about to take advantage of all the "year end clearance sales" at local dealers.

  1. Do Your Research- getting the details on manufacturer incentives and holdback are essential.
  2. Get competitive quotes and deal with the right person.
  3. Know when to buy.
  4. Be willing to travel to get a better deal.
  5. Eat before you go.
  6. Bring a friend... and your kids!
  7. Game Time: Set two appointments at different dealerships - and a time limit. 
  8. Don't sign anything or give up your edge until you have a firm base-price offer.
  9. Remember: Always be ready to walk out.
  10. Have financing options and be wary of the Finance "Closer".

I'll add one more: ask friends and family for references. You may find a good dealer and sales person via a personal connection, and I found when we purhased our last car that we were able to close the whole deal in less than an hour... with a trade in.

Also, you can use many of these tips for many big purchases, like consumer electronics.

Last, use Edmunds.com, the Kelley Blue Book site and MSN Autos for doing some of the research (points 1, 4, 7), esp as you can find snapshots from Consumer Reports on MSN.

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