The process of purchasing a car is something that strikes fear in the hearts of many. The fact is, however, that by spending the necessary time to research the process ahead of time, car buying does not have to be so daunting. Read the article that follows, and you should have the information you need to make the best choice for you and your family.

Visit your local bank and get pre-approved for a car loan. This one step cannot only save you a lot of time at dealership, but it will also save you money most of the time. By getting a loan at your bank, you can negotiate your interest rate more effectively; thus, lowering your overall payment.

Know your limits. Before you start shopping for your next car or truck, decide how much you can afford to pay, and stick to it. Don’t forget to include interest in your calculations. You can expect to pay around 20 percent as a down payment as well, so be prepared.

Do not make the mistake of focusing on only the monthly payment amount when you are car shopping. This can cause you to buy a more expensive car than you can really afford. You need to focus on the total cost of the vehicle itself and whether that is a good deal.

Ask the car dealer to show you a vehicle history report. This can tell you if the vehicle has been in an accident or if it has been recalled. It can also show you what repairs have been done and when they were done so that you know exactly what you are buying.

Find out about the different warranties that are available. You do not want to spend a couple thousand dollars on a warranty that is not going to cover the repairs that commonly occur. Instead, shop outside of the dealership to find one that will cover the repairs at a better price.

When negotiating cost, think about the entire price, rather than the monthly payment. Any dealer can find a way to get you the monthly price you want to pay, but you’ll be paying that price for years because of tons of interest. Then your total car price will be extremely expensive. Get the best deal you can on the total cost of the car. Then calculate what your monthly payments will be.

Be sure to take a car for a test drive before buying it. It isn’t about the make or model but about the specifics of the car you may buy. No two cars are exactly the same. Give every car that you consider a test drive to prevent buying a lemon.

Car shopping is not always an enjoyable experience, given the multitude of factors that must influence the final decision. Education and information are critical tools when it comes to making the right selection. Heed the tips and guidance found above, and you can have a car shopping experience that is not only stress-free, but that results in the perfect choice being made.