3 Steps to Buying a Car in One Day

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Americans are apparently digging deep and coming up with the down payment and financing for new cars, even against some formidable economic headwinds.

According to auto-trading website Edmunds.com, Americans are expected to buy 15 million new vehicles in 2013, a 4% upswing from this year.

"Economic uncertainty at home and spillover effects from slowing economies abroad will continue to slow the pace of American economic growth, including car sales. But many of the same positive factors in play now will continue to support car sales momentum in 2013," says Dr. Lacey Plache, Chief Economist at Edmunds.com.

It's all about being on the "right path," says Edmunds' consumer advice analyst Philip Reed.

"Even though a car is a big-ticket purchase, you can do it quickly and with little stress," Reed says. "Break the task into the steps and you'll save time and money and still get the best car for you."

Here are the three key steps to buying a car or truck in a day, according to Reed:
  • Find the vehicle. Edmunds says the first step is to find the exact type of vehicle you want.(The company, not surprisingly touts the Find Your Next Car feature on its home page.) Or check out the website of a favorite local dealer and identify the color and features you want in your new vehicle. Make sure to ring up the dealer and check that the car you want is actually on the lot.
  • Close the deal. Once you've settled on the exact vehicle you want and have confirmed its immediate availability, ask the sales manager not only for the best price, but also for any incentives or rebates. Edmunds advises checking those figures against its True Market Value auto price comparison tool. If the number you got from the dealer is lower than the TMV quote, you're in good shape and can close the deal. If that number is higher, get on the phone and start negotiating with the dealership manager, letting him or her know you have the TMV figures in your back pocket.
  • Set up delivery. Don't sign off on any deal without a guarantee the dealer will deliver the car or truck to you at your home or office. According to Edmunds, "the salesperson should oblige and arrange to have the car driven to your home or office. Inspect the car to verify it is the year, make and model you want and make sure there are no dents or scratches and all the equipment that's supposed to be there has been included." Also, check the fine print and make sure you're getting the deal you agreed to during those negotiations. After all, it's a contract you're going to have to live with for several years. Once you've determined everything is in order, make the payment to the dealer and accept the keys to your new vehicle.

If you do your homework, there is no reason you can't pull the three steps off in 24 hours.

That leaves plenty of time to start enjoying your new car or truck and get on with your life, ideally behind the seat of your shiny new set of wheels.