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Learn... Plan... Buy, Maintain and Sell a Vehicle!

Calculators
  "How much vehicle can I afford?" (Wachovia)
  Should I take the rebate or special offer financing? (State Farm)
  How much will my monthly payments be? (State Farm)
  Monthly auto loan calculator with extra payments calculator
  Negative equity payment calculator (rolling previous loan balance into new loan)
  Rebate verus interest rate calculator
  What's the true cost of the lease? (Bankrate)
Tools
  "How much will the insurance cost? " (InsWeb)
  "How much will the insurance cost? " (Insurance.com)
  Get the retail price for your trade-in (CarMax, Cars.com, Autobytel, or Edmunds)
  Get the wholesale price for your trade-in (Kelley Blue Book, or NADA)
  Check current lending rates at Bankrate
  Research your car (Edmunds, MSNAutos, or USAToday)
  For a used car, check its history at CarFax.com
  Visit online lenders at E-Loan and Capital One Finance
Owning a vehicle

According to a 2001 survey by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, car ownership costs are the second largest household expense in the U.S. In fact, the average household spends about 18% of their expenditures on vehicles and related costs, with only shelter (home mortgage or rent) costing more at 19%. The average household spends $3,938 a year for vehicle purchases and loan interest, and over $7,200 a year when you include gas and oil, maintenance, repairs, taxes and fees. Given these costs, it's essential that consumers take steps to be informed and make the best deal possible when purchasing, leasing, or selling a vehicle.

This section addresses a variety of topics related to owning a vehicle. This includes:

  • purchasing a vehicle - whether you are planning on buying a new or used vehicle, for transportation or simply for pleasure, the more you know about buying a vehicle, the more likely it will be that the experience will be pleasurable and you will know that you got the best possible deal.
  • selling or trading your vehicle - when you are ready to buy a new vehicle, you typically have a used vehicle which needs to be sold or traded in, and you need to know how to get the best price.
  • obtaining a lease or loan - after you have found the perfect vehicle, you probably need to borrow money to buy that vehicle, and this means finding the best loan rates or lease terms that you can.
  • properly insuring your vehicle - vehicle insurance is a very confusing purchase for most buyers, so it's important that you understand what types of coverage you need and why so that you, your passengers and your vehicle are properly protected at the best price.
  • maintaining your vehicle - as cars continue to get more sophisticated, it becomes less likely that you can do your own maintenance and repairs, and they are very expensive.

Each of these areas provides some basic information and a step-by-step process for accomplishing the respective action.

Get Answers
  FAQ on vehicle ownership
  Ask our experts
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