Often, the key to finding the right used car for the new driver in your house is doing your homework. These tips will help steer you towards a pre-owned car that fits the bill without breaking your budget:
� First, determine how the car will be used. If it’s for commuting or trips to college and back, then gas mileage and comfort may be your biggest considerations. With gas prices high, fuel economy is an important consideration.
� Make a list of some vehicle safety features you’re looking for. For example, are you interested in anti-lock brake systems and integrated seat belt systems?
� Always test-drive prospective cars on city streets and highways. This will give you a chance to thoroughly examine the car. Have your teenager drive it if you can. Make sure everything on the car works properly–brakes, gauges, lights, windows and locks. Also, have a mechanic you trust check it out.
� Finding a safe and reliable vehicle for your teen is top priority. You can purchase unlimited Carfax Vehicle History Reports for 30 days by entering the vehicle identification number (VIN) of any used car at . Among the things the reports indicate are:
� If a car has been in an accident–more than 5 million cars are considered total losses from wrecks each year;
� If the car has been in a flood;
� The number of previous owners;
� If the odometer has been rolled back and if the mileage reported on the car is truthful;
� If the car has ever been turned in under the lemon law;
� If there are open recalls on the car.
The reports also tell you when a dealer took ownership of the car, making it easier to haggle over price (the longer a dealer has held a car, the less leverage he has). Additionally, they include a free Safety & Reliability Report, which provides useful information on the car you are considering–including facts about crash tests, safety recalls and reliability ratings.
� In addition to the above, you should take a look to make sure the body parts line up, the paint matches, doors open and close easily and the tires show even wear.