If you're wondering what kind of car makes the best investment, stop wondering. It's true that a few well-cared-for cars can appreciate over time, but in general, it's best to not think of cars as investments. For most of us, they're simply necessary means of transportation.

Cars tend to decrease in value over time. That's why it's generally true that the less you spend on cars, the better. That doesn't mean that you should always buy the cheapest available car. Spending a little more on a car that will be reliable and last a long time can be a very smart strategy.

You can go through all of your life having bought a house just once, but you'll likely buy a car five to 10 times -- if not more. Add all those expenses together, and they'll probably amount to more than the cost of a house. Buying a car involves a significant amount of money. Don't enter into an agreement to buy anything with wheels and cup holders until you've done your homework. You can probably save hundreds, if not a thousand or more, dollars on your next purchase by putting some tips and strategies to work.

For much more scoop on the ins and outs of the car-buying process, check out the Fool's How to Buy a Car area and ask any questions on our Buying and Maintaining a Car discussion board. Our discussion board community is broad and deep -- and friendly. Recent topics on the board include whether to file an insurance claim after an accident, the top 10 car stars, anti-theft devices, auto shipping, whether to buy a new or used minivan, dealer financing gotchas, and how to donate a car.