Buying a Used Car

courtesy of Bob, The Auto Answer Man

Dear Bob,
I teach Consumer Resource Management in a large school district in Kansas City, KS. This class teaches students to be wise consumers. One of the topics I will teaching is how to buy a used car. Besides using Consumer Report, Consumer Digest and the NADA book, are there in more publications that rate the reliability of used cars? I had one student as me where she could get info on cars costing less than $1000. My response was to find a good mechanic and have him/her go with her to take a good look at any car that she wished to purchase. Any more suggestions? I do not want to loose credibility with my students as I am a first-year teacher.
Cathy S

Here in New Jersey, there are several companies that offer "traveling" mechanics that go and check out perspective vehicle purchases right on the lot! The fee ranges between $70 and $150 (depending on what plan you take). The more you pay, the more they tell you and look at. This way, you will get a professional report on what is up with a car. I do not know if this service is available in your area, if not, then there is a business opportunity for you! As far as other information, go to They have online information about cars back to 1987 with all available manufacture options and what the vehicle should trade for. Now, remember that the numbers that you find in Edmunds and NADA and Kelly Blue Book and only guidelines based on national averages. A certain model might not sell well in your region and that would affect price also condition of the vehicle itself. The books and publications offer guiltiness to determine vehicle quality. But the old saying is always true, a car is only worth what someone will pay!
Good Luck!
Drive Safely!
Bob, The Auto Answer Man

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