Ah, Memorial Day — the smell of hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, the luxury of an extra day off and the unofficial opening of road-trip season as summer begins in earnest. For some, that means it's time to relax, but for the auto industry, it's a flutter of activity: In addition to the annual ritual of rising gas prices, there's also a spike in traffic dangers as more motorists hit the road.
And perhaps most importantly for car shoppers, it's a huge weekend for new-car sales. If you're among those ready to buy, here's what you should know.
What car should I buy? That depends on a lot of factors, but our reviews can help. Check out our recent additions:
Pickup trucks: Chevrolet Colorado ZR2
SUVs: Fiat 500X, Mercedes-AMG GLC43, Nissan Rogue Sport
Family sedans: BMW M760, Acura TLX, Volkswagen Jetta
Fuel sippers: Volkswagen e-Golf
Hatchbacks: Kia Niro, Mini Clubman
Minivans: Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
Sports cars: Mazda MX-5 Miata RF, Lexus LC 500, Lexus RC 350
Wagons: Subaru Outback
Anything I should wait for? The redesigned 2018 Toyota Camry hits dealers late this summer, and Ford has some updates on the F-150 coming this fall.
Which cars have the best deals right now? Check out our top deals for May. As always, your discounts may vary, so check with your dealer for specifics.
Discount-heavy SUVs include the Jeep Renegade, Patriot and Cherokee.
If you're shopping family sedans, big incentives exist on the Camry, Ford Fusion and Nissan Altima. For something more affordable, compact sedans such as the Toyota Corolla and Ford Focus have factory incentives, too.
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.
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.