Great car tips from Men's Health
"Buy, Don't Lease
Leasing is more expensive because you're using up the best years of the car's life. A monthly lease payment is precisely calculated to ensure that you pay for every penny of that dizzying depreciation, along with interest and other fees. If you'll keep the car at least 5 years, buying is usually a better deal.
Before going to the dealership, learn your credit score and check with your bank (as well as sites like bankrate.com) about loan options—or you'll be at the mercy of the dealer's finance office. Just don't take on a loan that will last longer than you'll own the car. As a general rule, if you have to stretch the payments beyond four years, you can't afford the car.
Ace the Details
If you want to customize a new car without making it look like something out of Pimp My Ride, start with the wheels. A rim upgrade can be inexpensive ($1,500 or so) and quick (your car won't be laid up for a week). If you have a higher-end car, you don't even need custom rims—just get the wheels powder coated in a new color."