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"Oh, so the guy who makes his living in a car dealership is going to tell me how to buy a car?!", you're probably thinking. No, but I'll try to help. I've been immersed in it for over 21,000 days, sold over 150 vehicles, and have helped over 4000 people buy cars.

I've invited myself to write this column to inform, sometimes perhaps irritate, but most importantly empower women with facts to keep in mind as you confront the necessary evil of buying a car. So to start, go get some information.

The internet is a great place to start. You will find so much information, your mouse may pass out from vertigo! Of the many sites you can find, these are the ones I recommend: www.kbb.com (the Kelly Blue Book site), www.edmunds.com, and www.blackbookguides.com provide information for the head with pricing guides, safety test data, cost of ownership analyses, etc.....and pump the heart with performance tests, photography and emotional testimonies of what it is actually like to drive the newest of offerings. But you can't and shouldn't stop there.

Any Internet subscriber service will have "shopping" channels that provide information on new and used car costs, dealer incentives, and safety and reliability data. And if you haven't tried this already, go to any search engine and type "car+buying". While the world unfolds before you, load your printer with paper and squeeze in the Visine, because you could now be online forever.

If you are already excited about or committed to a certain make or model, most manufacturer's and even most retail dealers have sites. If you have trouble finding them by name, again, check the search engines. A word of caution about these sites....they aren't exactly objective, but on the other hand, who is better versed at the vehicle specifications than those that made it.

One of the best places to obtain the skinny on a specific used vehicle, and I mean specific vehicle, is www.carfax.com. This service houses over 700 million vehicle identification numbers

 
Photo by Nicolette Chieffe
 
and instantly checks the vehicle record to guarantee whether or not the used vehicle of your desires has ever been salvaged, reconstructed, or flood damaged. It also provides vehicle registration history, but in non- specific terms, so you will probably never know who owned that '98 Infiniti with "HOMEWRECKER" spray-painted on the hood, but you can know how many owners the car has been through. Carfax has emerged as a favorite with retail dealers as well, assuring the integrity of their inventories to prospective customers.

Two more important sites you may want to visit are www.autoweb.com and www.consumerrreports.com, which is fantastic for determining the true or entire cost of ownership including fuel economy, insurance costs, etc.

Local publications, newspapers, sellers magazines, Trader's Post Magazine, give a good indication of market values in your area, but make sure to cross reference it with your other information you've already gotten. Remember, the people who sell their cars in those media are more likely to embellish the condition of their vehicles in ads, ask as much if not more than a dealership who has inspected the car for reliability and safety.

The most important thing is to be able to separate the objective from the subjective. Buying a car is a tug of war between id and ego. From the time you begin your research, throughout your budgeting, and until you feel the wind blowing through your hair, let each of them have their say. It's best in the long run that you are completely satisfied with all aspects of your decision.

If you have any questions, or comments about this column, you can e-mail jason@dishmag.com .
www.Dishmag.com / Issue 198 - December 2017
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