Used Vehicles Put Consumers on the Spot

August 15, 2003
Filed under Trailer News

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A recent study showed that in a slow economy, people are more likely to buy a used car to
save money. But, can they spot a deal from a dud? If the “Truth About Used Cars Challenge”
is any indication, most people can’t. Consumers at a shopping mall were challenged to
examine four pre-owned vehicles and select the safe, reliable vehicle on which they would
put their money. The catch? Three of the cars had serious accident histories, including one
that had been completely totaled in a crash. The results of the challenge were surprising.
Despite rigorous scrutiny, most of the shoppers still couldn’t pick out the good from the
bad. These consumers were playing a game; however, millions of Americans in the market for
a quality used vehicle aren’t so fortunate. Unscrupulous sellers rebuild wrecks, dry out
and clean water-damaged cars, and roll back odometers so that the vehicles they are trying
to sell look fine to the average buyer. When they fail to disclose these questionable
pasts, it’s the buyers who lose. Experts say there are three things consumers can do to
protect themselves and to help guarantee they will end up with a quality vehicle: 1. Have
the vehicle inspected by a mechanic. 2. Take it for a thorough test-drive. 3. Get a
vehicle-history report. Consumers can obtain a vehicle-history report online at carfax.com. The report will tell them everything about the
vehicle, including accident and flood damage, actual mileage, and details about previous
ownership.

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