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Checklist: How to Buy a Car

Record-high gas prices have car shoppers asking an extra question: What can I afford to fuel? First, check the EPA mileage ratings; then follow up with these tips to settle on a car that's kind to you. For more details, visit and click on "Buying a Car."

  • Know what you want It's easy to fall for a seductive set of wheels. Make sure the vehicle you choose fits your lifestyle. Long commute? Think hybrid. Got kids? Test a station wagon.
  • Hit the books At, you can compare vehicle safety ratings, get Kelley Blue Book pricing, and find a list of AAA-approved auto dealerships in your area.
  • Drive it Don't baby the model you want during a test drive; treat it as if you owned it. Better yet, rent one for a weekend.
  • Reject lemons Use Carfax through—where you'll save 20 percent of the fee—to track a used car's history.
  • Not interested in haggling? Look into our Vehicle Purchasing Service at, which pairs buyers with dealers who offer prenegotiated prices.

Now that you're breathing that new-car smell, check out our new low auto insurance rates at

This article was first published in September 2008. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.