Do your homework before shopping for a new car or truck

Going car or truck shopping without doing your homework is like, well, taking a team into the big game without a plan.

It’s like driving across the country without a map – or GPS device.

We were reminded of this when we happened upon Evan Griffey’s Car Buyer’s Checklist – 10 things everyone should consider when buying a new car on MSN Autos.

“To help you navigate … the car-buying process and emerge with the most car for the money, we’ve put together this checklist of what every car buyer should consider” to help you find a vehicle that pushes all your buttons without wilting your wallet,” Griffey wrote.

However, Griffey isn’t the only expert who offers suggestions on getting a better deal on a car.

Scott Rundle of Santander Consumer USA offered The art of negotiating the best deal on the RoadLoans blog, “The Open Road,” and on the SCUSA corporate blog.

“The buying process … can be a challenge,” Rundle wrote, adding that there are “some simple things you can do to get the best deal” and urging readers to “do your homework.”

The website autobytel, “Your Lifetime Automotive Advisor,” offers its own New Car Buying Tips . “A shopping tips checklist is helpful so you don’t forget anything,” says autobytel. “You don’t want to get to the dealer and back home only to realize you didn’t ask your most pertinent questions.” and, two well-known names in the automotive industry, also offer advice.

Edmunds provides its “10 Steps to Finding the Right Car for You,” “10 Steps to Buying a New Car,” “Secrets of a Professional Negotiator” and “Guide for First-Time New-Car Buyers.” Also online, has “an extensive advice section for new and used cars, where shoppers can get information on safety issues, insurance, incentives, repairs, and resale value.”

While there is a lot of advice on what you should do, auto blogger Terry Jackson writes about 6 common car-shopping mistakes, including “deciding too quickly” and “letting your guard down.”

“Part of the problem is that unlike most other purchases, buying a car is often an emotional rather than a rational decision,” Jackson writes. “Someone gets what is sometimes called ‘new car fever’ and it can’t be quenched until the old set of wheels are replaced by something that’s shinier and sexier.”

So, avoid new car fever, at least until you’ve developed your game plan by exploring a range of sources. Plenty of help is available (see above). You just have to get online and search a little.

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