Although everyone enjoys owning a new car, buying a new car can sometimes be an overwhelming experience. We’ve compiled this list of car-buying dos and don’ts to help you improve your new-car shopping experience.

Do know what kind of vehicle you are shopping for! You should “Educate yourself about the vehicles you’re interested in, and know what kinds of options and trim levels are available. Knowing the cost of each trim level, options and packages is very important because depending on the car, these add-ons can add up to the cost of a whole other new car.” SpotDem.com is a great tool to price your vehicle because our pricing guides allow you to configure a vehicle you’re interested in buying by make/model/trim and down to the options and packages giving you an idea of what the final cost of the vehicle will be (subject to availability and based on dealer inventory).

Do your research ahead of time! To get the best possible price, you need to learn as much information about the vehicle you are shopping for before you ever enter the dealership. Consider several vehicles and research the accessories, features, and trim levels available on each one ahead of time, so you know what trim levels interest you, and which ones you would not want to pay extra for. Keep in mind that most vehicles are packaged according to specific trim levels, and can’t always be purchased to specific requirements without a special order.

Do know how much you can afford. Don’t shop for a luxury car if you’re living on a small-car budget. The rule of thumb when buying a new car is to put about 20 percent down, try not to borrow for more than four years (48 months), and keep your monthly payment lower than 10 percent of your income.

Don’t forget to factor in such things as fuel costs and annual maintenance. If you know your average commute, you can figure out in advance what you are likely to spend on gas by comparing your mileage to the EPA Fuel Economy Estimates on the window sticker.

Do contact your insurance agent to get an idea on rates ahead of time. It might seem backwards to check with your insurance agent before you actually purchase a new car, but if you knew the premiums were going to be sky-high for a certain vehicle, would you be inclined to choose a different vehicle or trim level? For example, you might discover a significant difference in the premium between the two- and four-door versions of a specific model, or that one trim level might cost less to insure than another. Would it affect your purchase?

Do arrive dressed neatly, but leave the expensive clothes and accessories at home: you want your salesperson to know you are a serious buyer, but, It’s gonna be hard to convince them you can’t make your payment if you’re wearing a Rolex.”

Don’t let your excitement over a specific vehicle make you a victim. Be prepared to walk away. There is no such thing as “now or never,” and it’s likely you can find a similar car on another dealer’s lot. If you don’t think you’re being treated well, leave and find another dealer. Be reasonable: the dealership needs to cover its costs and pay the salesperson’s commission, but if they’re not being fair to you, you will most certainly find another car on another lot on another day.