I didn’t realize that CarFax was founded in 1984. Thank goodness there are resources like this for drivers.

We’d all own a brand new car if we could afford it, along with the taxes and the full coverage insurance that a new car requires. I’ve been talking about buying a new car for a few years now and I think I’m finally ready to spin the wheel. I’ll have to clean my used car up before I can put it on the market and it certainly has its issues.  But that makes me realize that if I choose to buy a pre-owned car, rather than a new car, will I be purchasing someone else’s problems?

The experts say if you can, buy a new car. Although its value will depreciate when you drive it off the lot, it will have a warranty and other perks. If you just can’t afford it, purchase yourself a new car smell air freshener to hang in that dank, used vehicle that you’re about buy.  A three or four year old car with low mileage and hopefully a few months left on the original warranty. This way, the original owner already took the hit on depreciation. And you can get it inspected by your personal mechanic before you purchase it, so they will address those issues at the dealership. If you purchase it from an individual, you’re kind of on your own. I’m considering a certified pre-owned car with low miles and a warranty.

The Federal Trade Commission has devised tips for purchasing a used car.  In addition to having it inspected by your own mechanic, they also recommend that you research a car’s history using its vehicle identification number (VIN). Reports from CarFax, Experian Automotive, the National Insurance Crime Bureau and the Department of Justice’s National Motor Vehicle Title Information System may alert you to prior accident damage and odometer fraud.  I test drove a car once that had odd “rusty” seat belt hardware. I looked for any prior owner information in the glove compartment and found that the original owner was from New Orleans and this car had likely survived Hurricane Katrina. Glad we thought to look.

A list of issues will need to be addressed, such as faulty airbags. Be sure that any “promises” made regarding repairs and warranties are in writing before you drive off. Gather as much information about the vehicle as possible. Yes, I believe a certified pre-owned car is going to be best for me.

Until next week….

Daun Thompson

Writer / Comedienne / Artist

A Pre-Owned Car – Comedy Defensive Driving