Buying a New Car | FTC Consumer Information

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A new car is second only to a home as the most expensive purchase many consumers make. According to the National Automobile Dealers Association, the average price of a new car sold in the United States is about $30,000. That’s why it’s important to know how to make a smart deal.

 

Buying Your New Car

Think about what car model and options you want and how much you’re willing to spend. Do some research. You’ll be less likely to feel pressured into making a hasty or expensive decision at the showroom and more likely to get a better deal.

Consider these suggestions:

  • Check publications and websites that discuss new car features and prices. These may provide information on the dealer’s costs for specific models and options.
  • Shop around to get the best possible price by comparing models and prices in ads and at dealer showrooms. You also may want to
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Auto Repair Basics | FTC Consumer Information

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The best way to avoid auto repair rip-offs is to be prepared. Knowing how your vehicle works and how to identify common car problems is a good beginning. It’s also important to know how to choose a good mechanic, the kinds of questions to ask, and your consumer rights. This kind of information may help you keep a lid on mechanical mistakes.

Repair Information

How to Choose a Repair Shop

What should I look for when choosing a repair shop?

  • Ask for recommendations from friends, family, and other people you trust. Look for a repair shop before you need one to avoid being rushed into a last-minute decision.
  • Shop around by phone and online for the best deal, and compare warranty policies on repairs.
  • Ask to see current licenses if state or local law requires repair shops to be licensed or registered. Also, your state Attorney General’s office or local
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Buying a Used Car | FTC Consumer Information

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Before you start shopping for a used car, do some homework. It may save you serious money. Consider your driving habits, what the car will be used for, and your budget. Research models, options, costs, repair records, safety tests, and mileage — online and through libraries and bookstores.

Before You Buy a Used Car

Whether you buy a used car from a dealer or an individual:

  • Test drive the car under varied road conditions — on hills, highways, and in stop-and-go traffic.
  • Ask for the car’s maintenance record from the owner, dealer, or repair shop.
  • Determine the value of the vehicle before you negotiate the purchase. Check the National Automobile Dealers Association’s (NADA) Guides, Edmunds, Kelley Blue Book, and Consumer Reports. Some of these organizations charge for this information.
  • Research the upkeep costs for models you’re interested in, including the frequency of repairs and maintenance costs.
  • Examine the car using
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Vehicle Repossession | FTC Consumer Information

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Chances are you rely on your vehicle to get you where you need to go — and when you need to go — whether it’s to work, school, the grocery store, or the soccer field. But if you’re late with your car payments, or in some states, if you don’t have adequate auto insurance, your vehicle could be taken away from you.

When you finance or lease a vehicle, your creditor or lessor has important rights that end once you’ve paid off your loan or lease obligation. These rights are established by the contract you signed and the law of your state. For example, if you don’t make timely payments on the vehicle, your creditor may have the right to “repossess” — ­or take back your car without going to court or warning you in advance. Your creditor also may be able to sell your contract to a third party,

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