When I bought my first used car, I didn’t know anything. I had a few hundred dollars, and I thought getting a car was so cool. I was pretty naןve back then, and I assumed that if something went wrong I would be able to fix it on my own. Although I was good with tools and with figuring out how things worked, I had no experience with cars. I had a few friends who were tinkerers, but that was about it. I certainly had never heard of a car buyers guide, and so I was completely uneducated about used car sales. The guy completely skinned me!

About a month after I bought that car, things started going wrong. I knew that I would have to get some repairs done, but I was unprepared for how expensive it would be. A good car buyers guide would have told me, for example, that an eight-year-old put his Voyager was probably losing compression in the engine, and possibly at risk of transmission failure. A car buyers guide might also have told me that it is almost impossible to work on a Voyager. Nothing is set up to make it easy to get to. For example, when the starter went, I thought I would be able to replace it. No such luck! In most cars you can get to the starter, but in the Voyager you actually have to remove the engine block to even reach it!

Needless to say, since then I have become quite a fan of car buyers guides. I have not made another purchase, whether of a used car or a new one, without consulting a car buyers guide first. I haven’t stopped at that either. I have a friend who is an auto dealer. He lives across the country or else I would buy cars from him, but I can still get car buying tips from him. He tells me about what models to invest in and which ones not to. Even if the car seems to be in good shape, if it is from a model that is viewed as unreliable, you probably shouldn’t purchase it. A car buyers guide might hint at which models are awful, but a good mechanic will spell it out for you. Even more important, they will make you look more knowledgeable when you are going to used car sales. If you go in knowing what you want and what you don’t, you are less likely to be taken advantage of.