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Car-buying pitfalls

The deal you think you're getting on that new car may not be so hot.

Dealership traffic and sales tend to pick up in the summer months, often in response to big industry incentives. Last August, automakers' incentives rose 13 percent compared to July, according to TrueCar.com data, with the average cash back and other offers tallying $3,199.

So what's keeping shoppers from getting the best deal? Plenty.

One of the easiest to fix may be timing. Waiting even a few weeks may yield much better deals. "We're at the beginning of the summer buying season," said Karl Brauer, senior director of insights for Kelley Blue Book. "The longer you can wait, the cheaper those last year's car models are going to be." Sales will pick up by early July, he said, with even better offers coming in August and September, although selection wanes as pricing improves.

These seven other pitfalls can also be avoided, with some advance planning and consideration.

—By CNBC's Kelli B. Grant
Posted 3 June 2015

Bonnie Jo Mount | The Washington Post | Getty Images