Salesmen are less likely to take you for a ride if youre clued up, so dont step through the showroom door until youve done some homework.
It sounds obvious, but the first thing to decide is which car you want. Too many people turn up at a dealership with no idea which model will suit them best and leave having bought the car that suited the salesman best instead.
As well as the make and model, it helps to decide on an engine and trim level. Read the detailed reviews on whatcar.com to find out which engines perform best and which trims offer the best value.
Check the What Car? Target Price for the car, so you know the absolute maximum you should consider paying. If youre a hard-nosed haggler, visit a few broker websites to see the maximum savings possible and suggest these to your dealer. If you have a car to part-exchange, check its trade-in value at www.whatcar.com/valuations
Unless youve got the cash burning a hole in your pocket, youll need to organise finance to pay for the car. Check out some high-street loan rates so you can compare these against any offer the salesman makes.
Finally, read up on GAP (guaranteed asset protection) insurance and PPI (payment protection insurance) and decide if you think either is worthwhile. If so, visit comparison websites such as Confused.com or Comparethemarket.com and get independent quotes to compare against those offered by the dealer.