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Used car buyers look out for lemonss

Sept. 25, 1996

Used car buyers look out for lemons

The Jeff Hunter dealership is just one of the many locations in Waco where a student can shop for a bargain on a used car. Most dealerships offer a wide variety of cars to suit anyone's needs.

By Summer Blackwell

Lariat Reporter

With the prices of new cars rising, more people are looking for good deals on used cars. Although most used car dealers are reputable, there are some steps buyers can take to make sure they do not end up with a lemon.

According to a statement from Attorney General Dan Morales, used car buyers can avoid trouble by doing a little research before making purchases.

According to the press release, before looking at cars, people should consider what car models they want and how much money they are willing to spend.

In a Council of Better Business Bureaus pamphlet, it is suggested that car buyers refer to the annual 'Consumer Reports Guide to Used Cars,' which can help point out potential repair problems.

The pamphlet states that people can consult the 'N.A.D.A. Official Used Car Guide,' the 'Kelly Blue Book' or the 'Old Car/Truck Red Book' to look at approximate dealer prices for many models. These publications can be found at libraries, bookstores, banks and insurance agencies.

After consumers find the car they want, there are ways to check the quality of the car.

'Used cars cost less money, but they are more of a gamble,' said Keith Poehl, owner of Cen-Tex Motor Co. on Franklin Avenue.

Prospective buyers should have a professional auto mechanic look over the vehicle, Poehl said. A mechanic can inform a buyer of repairs the car may need.

Chelsea Black, an Albuquerque, N.M., sophomore, said a mechanic saved her from making a big mistake when she was buying a used car.

Black said she had a mechanic look at a car she was interested in purchasing, and the mechanic warned her that the car needed $500 worth of repairs. Black did not purchase the car.

There are also some things buyers can check for themselves.

The Council of Better Business Bureaus' pamphlet states that it is essential for potential buyers to take the vehicle on a road test before committing to a purchase.

According to the brochure, consumers should drive the vehicle over rough roads to check for unusual vibrations, noises or odors in the car.

Individuals can also check for rust on the body of the car, look at the condition of the spare tire and inspect window glass for cracks or holes.

A Better Business Bureau representative said that once the decision to buy a particular car has been a made, a person should carefully read the purchase agreement.

For more information on purchasing a used car contact the U.S. Department of Transportation's Auto Safety Hotline 1-800-424-9393. Free brochures on warranties, service contracts and car ads are available through the Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580.

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