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BUYING A USED CAR
BE A SMART CAR SHOPPER Before launching your search for a good deal on a used car, spend some time considering many of the same factors that would apply to a new car purchase: how you will use the vehicle; how long you plan to keep it; the size, style, features, and appearance you need or prefer; and your budget or financing options for the purchase, as well as for operation, maintenance, and repair costs.
Terms for used auto loans at financial institutions change with the market and interest rates. You should spend some time researching the vehicles that you are interested in. Ask friends about their experiences and satisfaction with their older carsówould they buy the car again? Also, check auto and consumer books, such as Edmund's Used Cars Prices and Ratings, and magazines, such as Consumer Reports, for information on the reliability records of various models. In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) operates a toll-free hotline 800.424.9393 and a page on the Internet (www.nhtsa.dot.gov), through which you can find out if a particular vehicle has ever been recalled for safety defects.
Under the Federal Trade Commission's Used Car Rule, all sellers of used cars (except private owners), are required to place a large sticker called a "Buyers Guide" in the window of their used cars, light-duty vans and light-duty trucks. The Buyers Guide (www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/autos/buyers.pdf) tells you whether the vehicle comes with a warranty and, if so, which systems are covered, how long coverage applies, and what percent of repair costs the dealer will pay.
The Buyers Guide also alerts you when a car is being sold with implied warranties only, or with no warranty at all ("as is"). Once you complete a purchase of a car "as is" and drive it off the lot, the dealer has no further responsibility for the car. Be sure to sign the Buyers Guide and request a copy for your records.
QUICK CHECK LIST Before purchasing any used car, be aware of the following:
Inspect the car in daylight and good weather. Bring someone you trust along to help you make a thorough appraisal; Don't expect perfection in a used car. Compromise on minor problems you can fix yourself, but don't overlook serious defects; Make safety a major priority. Older vehicles may not be equipped with airbags, child safety seats, seat belts, anti-lock brakes or security systems. Determine your locality's vehicle safety requirements for cars, mini-vans, recreational and sport-utility vehicles and other vehicles before you buy; Road test before you commit to buy. If you are not allowed to test drive the car, do not buy it. Have a Trusted Mechanic Thoroughly inspect the car before you purchase it.