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After purchasing a home, the second highest expenditure for consumers is purchasing a new car, averaging $28,000 (in 2009). Drive off the lot in that new car and its value immediately plummets. Why not pocket those dollars by purchasing a quality used car?
Pre-owned vehicles are generally available through two venues. First, individuals may sell their car independently by advertising on the car itself, in newspaper classified columns, or on Internet websites. Second, auto manufacturers provide used car sales departments, often attached to their new car dealership, and offer both general used cars as well as Certified Pre-owned vehicles that are accompanied by a manufacturer's warranty. Regardless of the venue, negotiation, except in the area of safety, is always the key to acquiring the right vehicle.
Numerous tools are available to assist the inexperienced car buyer in making a good decision when purchasing a used car. With a manufacturer and make or model in mind, research safety standards, current car values and owner satisfaction in a variety of consumer guides. Test drive each car under consideration to identify noises, compare handling and sniff out a suitable interior environment. Assess the number of previous owners and ask for detailed maintenance records. Read through the manufacturer's maintenance schedule, and deduct any current mileage maintenance needs from a monetary offer. Be prepared to replace tires for increased safety and handling.
Never attempt to purchase a used car without conducting basic background research into the vehicle. Armed with information, consumers are certain to make good decisions, negotiate an appropriate price and drive away in a quality used car, with long-term savings in their pocket.
Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff