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What NOT to Do When Buying a Car

It’s a whole new world out there when it comes to buying a car. With Chrysler in bankruptcy, GM shuttering its Pontiac brand and thousands of auto dealers closing their doors across the country, buyers have new leverage in price and incentives on their side. But there are still certain things you shouldn’t do before you drive off the lot.

Lauren Fix, the “car coach” and our resident auto expert, says the first mistake is telling the salesperson up front what you can afford and whether you are leasing or buying. Don’t think in terms of monthly payments.

To prove just how much of a buyer’s market it is out there, Fix found one buyer who was looking for a Honda Civic LXin Detroit. The stick price for the car was $18,725. The first dealer offered it for $17,305; the second dealer came in at $17,207 and the third went the lowest yet, to $16,900. The customer went back to each dealer for a final quote and the first dealer came back with an offer at $16,740, selling the Civic right off the lot.

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