With both fuel prices and concerns about the economy on the rise, many buyers are seeking used or certified pre-owned cars. Lauren Fix, the Car Coach, has some tips on what you should look for.
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Buying a used car can be a smart move. In fact, financial advisors claim it's one of the best vehicle investments you can make, since the first owner absorbed all the initial depreciation. That difference costs you less in taxes when you register and in insurance fees.
Compared to buying new, however, purchasing a used car carries added risks. Carfax recently found that over 2.7 million used cars advertised online in 2011 had been recalled for problems that were never fixed. Individual owners sold many of these vehicles, but some invariably came from dealerships, too.
Of course, it bears mentioning that car reports can’t list all the possible accidents, flood damage, repairs and recalls, nor whether they were performed on that vehicle or not. Many car report companies sell used-car reports that list all related recalls, as well as accidents and repairs tied to the car's VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). They hope to remind shoppers about the hidden dangers of buying used vehicles.
Tips for Used-car Buyers:
A used car can be a very smart investment. However, buying one requires more diligence and research than if you were buying a new vehicle.
1. Before setting out on your first test drive, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website. You can search for recalls on your prospective ride and even check to see if consumers have complained.
2. When you've found the right car for you, buy it through a dealership, if you can -- but not just any dealer. Try to purchase it from an authorized dealer who offers "certified" used vehicles. Get the VIN number and contact the local dealer for the specific recall information and history of that automobile.
3. Whether you're buying from a dealer or an individual, do your homework: ask for a report on the vehicle. The owner should be willing to provide one. If not, they may be hiding something. Have an ASE Certified technician check out the vehicle thoroughly before making an offer; it's worth your time and money.
Lastly, never be afraid to walk away from an automobile deal that’s just not right for you.