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Researching Vehicles

When purchasing a vehicle make sure you have done your homework. Factor vehicle history, safety, and reliability into your buying decision.

Model History. Check out a model’s history. Does it have good safety, reliability, and consumer remarks? Sometimes a new vehicle with substantial model changes is not good idea, the “bugs” may not have been worked out.

Safety. Safety features are constantly improving. It is smart to figure out which vehicles have the highest governmental and unbiased test safety ratings. Some of the features to look for include seat belt design, airbag design (cutoff switch and force sensors), head restraint design and position, antilock braking system (ABS), electronic stability control (ESC), traction control system (TCS), visibility, and tire quality. Take time to learn more about a vehicle by using online resources like www.iihs.org. It could save your life.

Vehicle History Reports. Use a search system like the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) at www.vehiclehistory.gov to access used vehicle history data. These reports (e.g., title problems, ownership history, and accidents) are only as accurate as the databases that they search. Some issues are never reported. Vehicle history reports should be used in conjunction with an inspection by an automotive professional and a review of the vehicle’s historical service records.