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Denver & Boulder, Colorado

Buyers Tips

Automobile Dealers (New & Used Sales)

A car is one of the most important and costly purchases you may make. Do not take this process lightly or make hasty decisions. An ethical auto dealer will take the time to allow you to make a conscious decision. Consider the following tips for smart car-buying:

* Decide how much money you can spend and what type of car best suits your needs.

* Research various models to determine those that are the safest, most reliable, and otherwise suitable.

* Narrow your choices to several cars. Do not make the mistake of having your heart set on one car -- it may reduce your bargaining power.

* Obtain updated price lists to compare dealer costs displayed on the window sticker. You will know how much bargaining room you have on the basic car and individual options.

* Get a firm quote, in writing, from the dealer.

* Shop around at several dealerships. Get each dealership's BBB Reliability Report.

* Keep all negotiations separate. Consider questions about financing, service contracts, warranties, trade-ins or other extras after you have settled on a price.

* Test drive the car before purchasing it. Take a test drive checklist with you to examine important characteristics of the car.

* Do not sign a contract before reading it very carefully and understanding all its provisions. If a clause concerns you, ask to have it explained, or if necessary, changed. Double check all the figures to make sure they coincide with what you have agreed upon.

* It is important to know that there is NO RIGHT TO RESCIND on a contract. Once you sign everything, the car is yours unless the contract specifically states any options to cancel.

* Before you drive away from the dealership in your new car, take a few minutes to carefully inspect it.

-Check over the exterior of the car for any damage, such as "dings" or scratches.

-Make sure the spare tire and equipment are where they should be, and that the tire is inflated to manufacturer specifications.

-Make sure all the hubcaps and body moldings are in place.

-Make sure all electrical items function properly.

-Check the Vehicle Identification Number on the car to ensure it matches the one on the contract.

-Ask the salesperson to demonstrate each accessory -- such as setting the clock or turning on the bright lights. Also ask how to check the oil, coolant, transmission fluid, and battery.

-Make sure you have the owner's manual, warranty forms, and all legal documents.

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