With an average transaction price of about $37,000 for a light vehicle in 2019, according to Kelley Blue Book, a new car is typically the second most expensive purchase we make.

Finding unbiased information before you buy can help you spend your money wisely, ensuring you get what you actually want. Here are four ways to help you determine what to pay for a new car:

Research actual costs

Have an idea of a reasonable price to pay before visiting the dealer. This information is available through sources such as TrueCar (our partner), CARFAX and NADA Appraisal Guides.

Read how one member saved big on his new car with AAA Auto Loans.

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If you’re going with a new vehicle, research can reveal the invoice price (what the dealer paid the distributor for it). Use that as the starting point for negotiation, not the sticker price (what the dealer wants you to pay).

With the AAA Auto Buying Program, you can see what nearby shoppers have paid for the same model, receive competitive price offers from local dealers and get discounted upfront pricing.

Compare vehicle basics

Consumer websites and publications provide key information about gas mileage, seating and cargo capacities, safety features, available options, and much more—details that not only can affect what you pay at the dealer and over time but also help you narrow down your choices. Plus, reading professional reviews and feedback from people who already own the vehicle can offer insight into what types of features you’ll want, so you can better gauge the price.

Know the industry

The popularity of a vehicle can drive price—when you buy a car can, too. Making your purchase at the right time of year could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. So keep an eye on the car industry by looking for manufacturer rebates and other trends, as it can impact what you pay for a new car.

Another consideration: knowing if the vehicle you want will soon be redesigned or discontinued. It can make a big difference when “figure out what to pay for a new car” occupies the top spot on your to-do list. For example, buyers of the popular Toyota RAV4 SUV enjoyed discounts on 2018 models purchased just ahead of the fall release of a majorly redesigned 2019 model.

Determine what’s not in the purchase price

While knowing what to pay for a new car is important when you buy it, the overall financial impact of your purchase continues long after you leave the dealer’s lot. We compiled an annual report that details the driving cost of different vehicle categories based on depreciation, fuel cost, average maintenance and more. You should also get insurance quotes for the vehicles you’re considering to factor in that annual cost.

With the above information in hand, you can confidently close the door on the purchase of the vehicle you want.

Considering What to Pay for a New Car?

See what others paid and lock in member savings with AAA Auto Buying.

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