Your car is among the single biggest purchases most people will make in their lives. It makes sense to try and save money in this area if possible while maintaining quality and of course, reducing the cost of ownership.
When I bought my last car, I utilized three main resources. One was the Consumer Reports magazine annual automotive issue, which comes out around March. The second was the Lemonade Guide, published annually, written by Phil Edmonton. And the third was the Auto Trader website.
I will never buy a new car. In 2005 I bought my 2003 Chevrolet Malibu for about $9000. A new 2003 Malibu would have cost me about $28,000 and if I wanted to sell it now, I would probably get about $6500 - $7000 for it, therefore, my car has depreciated about $2500 in the last three years. So here is how the math works out. My car lost about 62% of its value in the first 2 years of its life. In the next 3, it lost about 28%. That is taking into consideration, the accumulated mileage and age of the vehicle.
When I was a child, I remember my father telling me that a car loses a third of its value as soon as you drive it off the lot. It occurred to me, even then, that it would make more sense to buy a car that has just been driven off the lot. Then there was my mother telling me later in life that if you buy a used car, you are just buying someone Else's problem. What is a child to do about all these mixed messages?
If you do your due diligence and apply a few simple techniques to weed out the lemons, you will learn how to buy a used car and still win in the long run.
When I purchased my car, I looked in the Consumer Report and the Lemon aid Guide, Used car edition. I found the best quality car that I could afford based on the criteria that I was searching for, which mainly had to do with quality, reliability and lower cost of ownership. Then I went to the auto trader website to find the best deal for my car. I found a two year old car that was just off a lease, indicating that the previous owner was required to carry out routine maintenance.
Since then, I have only done my own routine maintenance, and have had no other problems in the three years. I will never buy a new car.
The author has other articles designed to help you save money at http://www.squidoo.com/save_plan_invest