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Comparison shop for financing. You may be able to do this by phone. Here are some typical bank rates in North Carolina in mid-1995:

New car rates: 9%-9.5%.

Used car rates: 10.25%-13.25%, (The rate depends on the age of car; older cars are financed for shorter periods.)

In both cases the loan was for 85% of value of car. Most banks use the Blue Book value to determine their loan. The Blue Book is put out by the National Automobile Dealers Assn. (N.A.D.A.) and is actually orange. You will need to come up with the other 15% as a cash down payment or as a trade-in.

Money Magazine lists car loan rates for your LOCAL area in its "Your Money Monitor" section.

Compare bank rates to car dealer rates, before deciding. Sometimes dealers offer incredible specials such as 1.9% financing.


I do not recommend leases, unless it's for business. Leases are complicated, and come with lots of conditions. Unless you are a wiz at math, understand all the technical terms involved (very different from a standard loan), plan to drive no more than the allotted miles, and can return the car to the dealer in excellent condition, FORGET IT!

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Figuring the trade-in value for your car is very similar to determining the price of a used car you want to buy. Dealers buy trade-ins using the following rule of thumb: the wholesale value minus 5%.

If you sell it yourself, you can expect to get between the wholesale value and the retail value. Naturally to get the best price you should spruce it up: wash, wax, vacuum, use touch-up paint, and tune it up.

Use Edmund's Used Car Prices and/or the Blue Book (see above) to figure out the wholesale and retail value. Dealers generally use the Blue Book.

Before you take your trade-in to a dealer, find out what several used car dealers would pay for it. Take any offers you get to the negotiating table when buy a new car. If the new car dealer offers you a low trade-in price, point out that you can sell it for more elsewhere.

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