Buying a used car

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We are sure that almost all Tate & Renner clients have done business with the many reputable used car dealers, without any problems at all. But having heard a few glitches along the way, we offer the following words of advice for those considering the purchase of a used vehicle.

First, go to Drug Mart. Buy a microcassette tape recorder. In Ohio, it is perfectly lawful to tape record a personal conversation, as long as all the other participants know that you are listening. You do not have to tell them that you are tape recording the conversation. As it is often difficult to prove what the sales representative said during the presentation, a tape recording can be excellent evidence.

Next, if you are shown a car to test drive, write down the vehicle identification number (VIN). Usually, this number can be read at the bottom of the windshield. Writing down the VIN protects you from a bait and switch. In a bait and switch, a car dealer has you test drive one car, but actually sells you a clunker that looks the same.

Read the "FTC Buyer's Guide." By federal regulation, all used cars sold in America must have a window sticker listing known defects, and the terms of the warranty.

Shop around. Do not plan on buying a car at the first lot you visit. You cannot get a sense of what is a good deal in the current market unless you have shopped around. Shopping around also gives you more bargaining leverage when you can explain that a comparable vehicle is available from a competitor at a lesser price.

As you hone in on a particular car you are interested in, consider these options which might cost a few dollars:

Finally, check the owner's manual to learn your car's maintenance recommendations. By taking good care of your car, you can be a safer driver, and hopefully go many years without having to endure the process of purchasing yet another car!

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