Driver Step 1–Determine what you WANT versus what you NEED. (I want a new Escalade, but we need a solid running SUV; I want a new King Ranch 4×4, but I need a $5,000 regular cab truck for work)
Driver Step 2–Think about the next car a few years away, and what this new car is going to be worth when it’s time to trade. (High mileage 4×4 trucks hold their value much better than high milage 2wd’s in most cases)
Driver Step 5–Dont ever buy anything used, without seeing it first. (internet deals can be great, but there is no inspection or picture that replaces an inperson demo drive)
Driver Step 4–Buy from a franchised dealer. There is an unspoken safety net transacting with a major brand franchised dealer. Franchised dealers will ALWAYS work with you more than non franchised, before and after the sale.
Driver Step 5–Choose aftermarket accesories carefully. You’re taste is probably not the same as the next owner of your trade in. In many cases, dealers <deduct> customizations on trade in’s, especially when in questionable taste.
Driver Step 6–include tax credits into the equation of ‘trading vs selling outright’.
Driver Step 7–Get it ‘past the dirt’ Get it ready to be sold. Detail your car before you sell it, and change the oil. Yes the dealer or the next buyer of your car can see ‘past the dirt’, but a $150 full detail at a local detail shop is typically worth $500-$1,000 more in trade in at time of transaction. The flipside is dealers do not deduct as much for tires, as new tires cost you. Let the next guy put the fresh tires on it.