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Want to Buy a Car Before School Starts? Read This First

The middle of August has just passed and with schools across the country preparing to welcome back students if they haven’t already, you may find yourself in a jam worse than any school pickup line: You need a new vehicle altogether. If your mission this weekend is getting out to the lots and finding a new car for the new carpool but you’re not quite sure how to go about it, take a deep breath and read on. Below is a list of links both on how to shop smart and save right, plus an assortment of new-car reviews for you to browse before you make a decision. Get it right now so you don’t get it wrong later.

Related: Which Dealerships Do It Right? Car Brands Ranked for Customer Service

What car should I buy? That depends on a lot of factors, and our reviews can help. Check out our recent additions:

Pickup trucks: Ford F-250 Super Duty FX4 Off-Road, Ford F-250 Super Duty, Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Ford Ranger
SUVs: Land Rover Range Rover Sport PHEV, Mazda CX-9, Audi Q3, Cadillac XT6, BMW X4, Ford Explorer ST, Ford Explorer, Jeep Renegade, Maserati Levante, BMW X7
Sedans: Nissan Versa, Kia Optima, Kia K900
Hatchback: Kia Soul
Hybrid: Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid
Wagons: Subaru Outback
Electric:
Nissan Leaf
Performance:
Lexus RC 300 F Sport, Ford Mustang Shelby GT350

Which cars have the best deals right now? Check out our top deals for August. As always, your discounts may vary, so see your dealer for specifics.

Should I buy new or used? Read up on the pros and cons of each. If you go used, review our used-car buyers’ checklist and consider whether you want a certified pre-owned car.

How much can I afford? Read our primer. Then use our Price Comparison Tool while you shop to find what’s right for you.

Should I finance, lease or pay cash? That depends, but this might help you decide. How do I get the best lease rate? Bone up on common lease terminology, plus our tips.

How do I get the best financing rate? Our game plan lays out some advice. While you’re at it, here’s what you need to know about auto loans and what you’ll need to get one.

Anything I shouldn’t do when I’m at the dealer? Yep. Avoid these pitfalls.

Should I get an extended warranty? That depends. Here’s what you need to know.

How do I sell or trade in my old car? Learn how to prep your car before you sell it to a dealer, how to trade it in and how to deal with taxes and other considerations. If you still owe money on your old car, read this. Finally, if you want to sell it private party, here’s how to create the picture-perfect ad and how to seal the deal.

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.