Tips to get the best deal on your next car purchase

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) Before you turn the key and rev the engine of a new car, there are a lot of hurdles to jump to ensure you scored the best deal.

WMBF News looked at different expert publications to compile a list of what you need to know to save money.

First up, prepare to pay more if you don't shop around and just settle for what's on the lot. If you don't shop around, you don't have leverage when it comes to negotiating price.

Also, experts say you may be focusing only on one brand or one model, when there are probably close to a dozen different cars that could fit your needs.

And don't settle for what you see on the car lot. Since you're making such a big purchase, you want to make sure you're getting what you pay for, not what the dealer wants to move off the lot.

Once you decide what car you want, make sure not to buy more than you need when it comes to size and unnecessary add-ons.

If you don't have kids or a ton of sports gear to lug around, you probably don't need a big truck or SUV, even if it is your top choice.

Same thing goes for add-ons. Are your choices of satellite radio, fabric protector or suped up wheels really necessary? Those choices can really add up if you aren't keeping track.

Next tip, although it should seem simple many buyers miss a major part of the purchasing experience. Don't skip the test drive.

Get behind the wheel and take the car on the roads you drive everyday. Pay attention to how it rides. Notice if the seat is comfortable, feel the radio controls and even look around and check the driver's visibility.

When you finally decide on what model you want, make sure you understand how much you can spend. Don't just focus on a monthly payment, and get ready to negotiate the sticker price.

That doesn't mean asking a salesperson to sell you a car for less than what it is priced.

You have to do your homework when it comes to the bottom line. Check online. What does the manufacturer say the car is worth? how much are other dealer's selling it for? Are there rebates available?

Also, if you'll be trading in your current car, make sure you research it's current value.

You should know how much you'll get for turning in the car you're driving before buying the car you want to drive away with.

Here's an insider's secret: Don't mention you'll be paying with cash up front.

Although it seems like a tough move, experts say showing you can pay the full price in cash may not get you the best deal.

Money can be made on financing, so dealers may not give you the best price if they know they won't be making money after the sale.

Your best move is to negotiate, settle on a price, then talk about how you will pay for it.

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