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Want a new car? Buyer Beware

If you're in the market to buy a new or used vehicle, doing research before purchasing is critical. Look in "Consumer Reports®" first; the April edition focuses on new and used vehicles. In my opinion, this has great information on the good, the bad and the ugly. Both vehicles I own were top picks in "Consumer Reports."

By studying this publication, you'll learn that one vehicle can cost more than four times as much to own over five years than another. Some vehicles have a very bad rating in dependability while others have great handling.

The publication also recommends which extras to buy and which to avoid with your car purchase. What you research in "Consumer Reports" can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your vehicle.

car buyingWhen buying a used vehicle, especially one from a private party, it's so important to have the vehicle inspected by your favorite auto mechanic. In the past few months, we've had numerous folks bring in their car after they bought it only to find major repairs that were needed. in one case, the repair cost more than the person paid for the used car!

"Please do your homework before buying."

Your risk factor with your vehicle depends on how well you repair and maintain your vehicle.

Repairing and Maintaining

A husband and wife come into the shop last week with a check engine light on in their SUV. Our shop scanned the control unit in their SUV and found 2 different issues. The SUV also had a bad battery, and was overdue for an oil change by 5,000 miles, and was well over due for a major service.

It was the wife’s SUV but the husband made the decisions on the needed repair. First, he said “it didn’t need a battery.” I explained that there is a very scientific approach in checking a battery's condition and the SUV flunked the test badly. The wife admitted that the vehicle had been starting slowly.

As conversation continued, I realized that the husband was a risk taker. He didn’t want to make this a dependable vehicle for his wife to drive. “She has a cell phone and towing insurance” he said, so she is covered. A battery is a battery, right?

Wrong. Vehicle owners need to determine their risk factor in ownership. It is best for driver of the vehicle to be the person who chooses the level of maintenance the vehicle receives. If you like to keep your vehicle for a long time with few problems, do the proper maintenance. Take it to your favorite shop and discuss, how long you plan to keep the car. Ask what maintenance they recommend to keep your vehicle dependable for the life you plan to keep it.

I like to know if I’m going to be able to get from point “A” to point “B”. I did have a customer who liked the uncertainty of his poorly maintained vehicle. He told me all about the fun adventures he had when his vehicle broke down, even making a great friend in Idaho, whom he met after spending two weeks there getting his vehicle repaired.

Proper maintenance in the beginning life of your vehicle prolongs the life of the vehicle drastically. As with the human body, good care through your life makes getting older more enjoyable. It is up to you on both!

- George Rode


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