Cars: Used car shopping? Use the right tools to find the right vehicle

April 6, 2011

ARA Report

Used vehicles are a lot like snowflakes or people—no two are exactly alike.

Sure, two Ford Mustangs are exactly alike when they roll off the assembly line. But, once they go home with a human being, no two cars are ever quite the same again. Maybe one is meticulously maintained and only driven once a week to church and back.

Maybe one gets in an accident, or is owned by a traveling salesman who drives 50,000 miles in a year. Once a vehicle has been on the road even for a short time, it takes on characteristics that make it just a little different from every other vehicle on the road.

So, with more than 30 million used vehicles sold throughout the United States every year, how can you make sure you get the right used vehicle to fit your needs, meet your price range, and avoid getting a lemon?

It comes down to knowing where to look, learning about a vehicle’s history and getting a trusted source to take a look under the hood to make sure the vehicle is in good working condition.

First things first—where to look. The world has shifted to the Internet, and car shopping is no exception. Every day, more than 100,000 people find a vehicle they are looking for by shopping on an automotive website.

Online destinations such as eBay Motors, NADA Used Car Guide and CarsDirect.com have literally hundreds of thousands of vehicles searchable by make, model, year, mileage, price and many other attributes to help narrow down a search to a handful of vehicles that meet your criteria.

You want a red convertible with a V-6, black interior, ABS and fewer than 25,000 miles? Chances are one of these sites can help you find exactly what you are looking for.
Once you’ve identified a few vehicles that could meet your driving needs, personal style and price range, it’s important to learn a vehicle’s history.

An AutoCheck vehicle history report can show if a car or truck has had possible undisclosed or unknown problems that can affect an automobile’s safety and resale value, such as major flood or frame damage, or odometer rollback issues.

One of the things car shoppers are most interested in is whether a vehicle has been in an accident. To meet this demand, AutoCheck has incorporated key information including police-reported accidents on vehicles from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as exclusive frame damage records gathered from physical inspections at vehicle auctions.

In addition, the AutoCheck Score offers users a system for comparing a vehicle’s history against other vehicles of similar make, model and mileage. This helps shoppers determine whether it is worth paying a little extra for a high-quality vehicle.

Once you have found a vehicle that fits your needs and you verify its history, it’s still important to have a qualified authority take a look at the vehicle. Because many shoppers are finding vehicles far from home, it can be challenging to physically check the car to make sure the description and condition match the ad.

This is where an inspection service, such as InspectMyRide, comes in handy.
InspectMyRide has a comprehensive 150-plus point inspection service that provides a detailed analysis of vehicle condition.

They send a qualified inspector to the vehicle, perform a road test when conditions permit, inspect the vehicle for signs of damage or concern and return a detailed report—including high-quality digital photos—usually within 24 hours. This gives car shoppers peace of mind that the vehicle they are looking at is as good as advertised.

All of these steps—searching the databases of major used vehicle shopping websites, reviewing a detailed vehicle history report and getting an inspection from a trusted resource—gives consumers the tools they need to find the right vehicle at the right price and make a stress-free purchase decision based on history and expertise.

From the April 6-12, 2011 issue

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