Buying Used Cars

by Robyn Bray

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I liked your advice on buying a used car, and would like to add something.

My husband and I at one time realized that the items we owned that gave us the best service just happened to be the same ones recommended in Consumer Reports.

When we shop for used cars, we use the Consumer Report Buying Guide...the one that comes out every year. Since we are often purchasing cars that are too old to be listed in the current year's issue, we have collected Consumer Report Buying Guides for several years, and go back and view a cars reports over a period of years. Those that have maintained a good track record and seem to require fewer repairs are the ones we consider.

We look for cars that have 100,000 miles or less on them, even if they are as old as 10 years. We look for cars for sale by individuals, and check each car out in the Consumer Report Buying Guide. We especially look to see how the model has performed in the area of engine and transmission. We look to see what the model's strengths and weaknesses are. If a car is still listed as performing well the last year it's listed in the Consumer Guide, we consider buying it, as long as it doesn't have over 100,000 miles and we get a "go ahead" from our mechanic.

For people who do not want to spend over $3,000 on a car, this is the only way to go, as far as I am concerned. This method has drastically improved our "luck" with cars since we started shopping this way.

Our son even gets in on the action, looking up cars and reporting to us what the stats are! He's 11 now, and the last time we were car shopping was a few years back, but he really got into it. I'm glad we're training him early!

My Story is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have information that can help others save time or money please send it to gary@ with "My Story" as the subject.

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