Presidents' Day weekend is traditionally a big car buying time. Manufacturers and dealers roll out incentives and discounts galore to lure buyers into a purchase. Is it really a good time for consumers to buy? The best time to buy is when you can afford it and when you've done your research. Rather than acting impulsively on any of the deals, you should plan your budget, your purchase goals, and do your research in advance - then, if any deals coincide with your pre-established budget, criteria, and goals - terrific!
Step by Step: Buying a new car - a good guide from Consumer Reports that covers choosing a car, what to expect at the dealership, getting the best price on your new car and your trade in, financing tips, closing the deal, and post-sale tips.
Safercar.gov Vehicle Shoppers - Consumer resources from the U.S. Department of Transportation, including 5 Star Ratings, which measure the crash worthiness and rollover safety of vehicles. Five stars is the highest rating, one is the lowest. The site also offers information on child safety, tire safety, safety technologies, and other topics.
Watch out for scams
One other thing to watch out for: The head of Consumer Affairs in Boston says to be on the alert for questionable fees. "NewsCenter 5's Susan Wornick obtained the results of a new state surveyin which state regulators, posing as consumers, called 180 car dealers across the state and found 130 charged some questionable fees that can drive up the final cost by hundreds or even more than $1,000."
Just another reason not to rush into things!
Other car-buying research tools
Consumer Reports: Step-by-step: Buying a used car