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Do your research to save money on used cars

October 4, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Many drivers are looking to save money in this economy, so they're passing over new cars in favor of used or pre-owned ones.

It's not the gamble it used to be - if you do your homework. We teamed up with experts from Consumer Reports, so you can save money on a used car.

We all know that the value of a new car plummets the moment it leaves the showroom. So car buyer Israel Camacho said, "Why not buy used?"

"It'll last for another 10 years, almost as long as a brand new car and save $17,000," said Camacho.

Jon Linkov of Consumer Reports said that buying a late-model, low-mileage used car can be a smart move.

"It can cost as much as 45-percent less than the same car was when new, yet still have most or all the features you're looking for and still have years of life left in it," Linkov said.

Consumer Reports said if you're buying a used car, get ready to do some research. As you narrow down your choices, be sure to factor in a vehicle's reliability. Then research going prices and hone in on actual cars on sites like AutoTrader.com, eBay, and Yahoo! Autos.

"When you find the right car, now is the time to be extra skeptical. Getting a vehicle history report, like a Carfax, is OK, but don't stop there," Linkov said.

You'll need your mechanic to inspect the car, as the vehicle history report doesn't always pick up everything, such as accidents. You'll probably need to leave a deposit with the seller. And expect to pay around $100 for the inspection.

"If the car passes mechanical muster, you're ready to bargain. Make an offer based on the prices that you've researched. Be prepared to dicker a little. But also be prepared to walk away," Linkov said.

Solid research and diligence can pay off when you find a great car at a great price.


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