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Front Page » April 7, 2009 » Carbon County News » AAA Utah outlines steps to consider before opting to purc...
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AAA Utah outlines steps to consider before opting to purchase used vehicles


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The nationwide decline in new vehicle sales has been widely reported. Many Americans are looking to used vehicle dealers.

According to CNW Market Research, consumers will purchase 40 million used vehicles by the end of the year, with March sales up 4.2 percent among franchised and 1.1 percent among independent dealers.

"A used car can deliver thousands of trouble-free miles if you're willing to put in the effort to make sure it's a good buy," said Rolayne Fairclough, AAA Utah spokesperson.

AAA offers Carbon County residents several steps to consider when buying used vehicles. The group encourages local consumers to:

•Decide what kind and size of vehicle they need.

When considering fuel economy, consumers should keep in mind that prices have fluctuated in the past year and likely will not remain at current levels throughout the ownership of the vehicle.

•Talk to owners of similar vehicles.

Most owners will share experiences about vehicles, including maintenance, major as well as minor problems and gas mileage.

Many online forums are dedicated to specific makes and models and can be a good resource for owner feedback.

•Determine what they can afford and secure financing in advance.

Due to the financial crunch, many dealers are having difficulty providing financing for buyers even if the consumers are well qualified.

People should research financing options in advance.

•Get an estimate of current pricing.

Consumers should check the used vehicle ads in the classified section of local newspapers, used vehicle advertising specialty publications and online services such as Kelley Blue Book.

The listings will give shoppers some ideas of current retail prices.

New vehicle dealerships are another good place to compare prices on used vehicles, but remember dealer prices are usually higher than those in classified ads.

•Determine if they want to purchase a vehicle from a private owner or a dealer.

While consumers might be able to negotiate a lower price from a private owner, the vehicle usually does not come with a guarantee that many dealers offer.

If buying from a dealer, people read the entire contract carefully, correct all problems before the purchase and keep a copy of the contract.

In a private sale, people check that the seller is, in fact, the registered owner of the vehicle.

Consumers should make sure they get the vehicle's title and a bill of sale.

•Get a CARFAX vehicle history report. Reports can reveal hidden problems such as involvement in a major accident, flood or fire damage or odometer fraud .

The reports can also alert consumers that a vehicle was previously used as a rental, taxi or in a fleet.

•Always take a road test. Consumers should check how the vehicle handles at highway speeds and in stop-and go traffic.

•Have a mechanic check the vehicle. People may have to pay a fee for the inspection, but it's worth the money to catch looming mechanical problems in advance.

•Shop around.

Consumers should never be so enamored with a particular model that good judgment falls by the wayside.

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April 7, 2009
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