New & Used Car Buying Checklists: From a Former Car Dealer

Written by Ray Shefska

My career in the retail automotive business started in 1977. Buying a car doesn’t have to be anxiety inducing, stressful, or painful. Instead it can be confidence inspiring, fun, and convenient. Let me show you how.

October 28, 2020

The car buying checklists we’ve created below are meant to help guide you during your car buying journey. If only buying a car was a simple and easy task … We all know it isn’t. Use the car buying checklist below to make sure you do your due diligence before spending tens of thousands of dollars.

We plan to add more checklists to this page over time. If you have a suggestion for a checklist, please let us know in the comments below. Since you are here, we think you may also be interested in these other free car buying resources:

Without further ado, let’s get into the car buying checklists.

Car buying checklist for a used car

Car buying checklist for a new car

Please let us know what other car buying checklists you would like to see in the comments below. We’ll frequently update this page. Thank you!

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  1. Al M.

    1.) Are there incentives on used cars?
    2.) Never mind negotiate on GAP, warranties, VIN etching, nitrogen filled tries etc… just refuse them!

    3) what does it really cost the dealer to make a car certified pre-owned thru manufacturer? $300-500 per car?
    4.) What do dealers actually spend getting a car detailed? $150-200 per car??


  2. Edward Polanco

    I’m going all in come January.
    My plan:
    A. Payed off current vehicles
    B. Waited 4 months for credit to catch up with payoffs
    C. Will pull credit report in December.
    D. Picked vehicle “Mercedes Benz gls “
    E. Used, 2017-2020
    F. Low mileage cost 35-40k
    G. Have backup vehicles and can walk away.
    Wish me luck

  3. Scott

    I’m looking now for a 2020 F-150 XL STX 4×4 (Chicago suburbs.) Prefer V8. If I don’t find what I like or get a reasonable price, I plan on ordering a 2021 F-150. Does it make a difference (price/incentives) when I place an order ? December 2020 vs January 2021 ?

  4. Glenn Fleisher

    I’ve picked out a 2015 Infinity QX50. Dealer is HGreg(Miami). I would be incredibly grateful for a quick call at 305-975-5959
    Can I negotiate sales price? (they say no)
    Are other fees negotiable?

    Sales Price: 19,998
    PreDeliv; 999
    Elec Reg: 399

    Subtotal: 21,396
    Taxes(7%) 1497.72
    License: 250
    Private Tag 25

    Sub total: 23,168.72
    Total: same


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