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Hudson - Litchfield News | March 30, 2012 - 23 “Kn w Y ur Car” The test drive is an important part of car shopping.


Taking a car for a spin before you buy it is a great way to get to know the vehicle - whether it has any mechanical problems or if it fits your personal style. But a growing number of car buyers are finding great deals online, which can sometimes mean committing to buy a vehicle before they’ve even seen it. The Internet has made it possible and practical to


expand your car shopping search virtually across the country. What’s more, shopping online offers unmatched convenience, selection and value - all without the pres- sure of making your decision on the spot in the dealer- ship.


Buying a new car online, however, is a lot differ- ent than other online purchases you might make, such as a book, music or movie. Buying a used car online is even more complex, because there can be far more unknowns to deal with. To help you in this, here are eight secrets to success- ful online used car shopping:


1. Find out about the vehicle’s history. When you buy a vehicle from online car shopping


sites such as eBay Motors, Yahoo! Autos or AutoTrader. com, you probably won’t have the opportunity to actu- ally see and drive the vehicle before you commit to the purchase. Used vehicles are like snowflakes - no two are exactly the same. A vehicle history report like AutoCheck, offered by Experian Automo- tive can help provide information critical to making a smart ve- hicle-buying decision. The report will let you know if a vehicle has ever had a reported accident, how many owners it’s had, if it’s been registered in a designated natural disaster area, what the odometer reading is and if the vehicle has ever been repossessed or stolen. Experian Automotive’s AutoCheck Score also enables you to measure how a vehicle stacks up against others of the same age and model


class, which is helpful in evaluating any vehicle. Log on to www. autocheck.com to learn more.


2. Complete transactions through the purchase site If, for example, you find a car online, be sure to start and finish


your transaction through the website. Doing so will afford you all the protections and assurances offered by the site.


3. Know what you’re buying In addition to reviewing a vehicle history report, ask for addition- al photos of details like the odometer reading, VIN and any scratches


Adapt Your Vehicle and Driving Habits to Combat Rising Gas Prices


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Eight Secrets to Safely Buying a Car Online “Kn w Y ur Car”


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or blemishes if they are not already revealed in the listing. It’s also recommended to have the vehicle inspected by a trusted third party prior to purchase to check for any mechanical or safety issues.


4. Check out the seller What kind of feedback does he or she have on the marketplace site? Read his or her ratings and com- ments.


5. Review the vehicle title. If it appears to have been altered in any way, you may want to reconsider your decision to buy.


6. Never send payments through Western Union, MoneyGram or other wire services. If you plan to pay in cash, do so only in person and obtain a receipt. When going to meet a seller, take someone with you and make sure someone else knows where you are and who you’re with.


7. Realize that if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.


Common sense and patience can be two of your best buying tools.


8. If you encounter fraud during the car-shopping process, consider filing a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov. Just like shopping for any other merchandise -- from clothing to


houses to vacation packages - you should take reasonable precau- tions to ensure you are dealing with a legitimate seller, and take ad- vantage of the secure processes offered by trustworthy and reputable online marketplaces.


- ARA Content


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Just as Americans are gearing up for warm-weather road trips and family vacations, prices at the gas pump are rising. For most people, driving is essential for get- ting to work, taking kids to school and going out to have some fun, so filling up the tank is a non-negotiable expense. However, costs add up quickly as fuel prices climb higher, taking up more of your budget. If you want to keep your plans in place and your spending on track, it’s important to be smart about fuel consumption. Not everyone can afford to buy a new, ultra-fuel-efficient car, so making adjustments to your existing vehicle - and your driving habits - can help you stretch the dollars you spend at the pump. * Drive mindfully: If you’re used to speeding up fast


and braking at the last moment, you need to reconsider how you’re operating your vehicle - those habits can drain your gas tank and send you back to the pump more often. Instead, make a conscious effort to accelerate and slow down gradually and use cruise control to maintain a constant speed, all of which will help to use fuel more efficiently. When possible, avoid idling and make plans for running errands, to cut down on the number of trips you take.


* Reduce drag: If you drive a truck, smoothing out the aerodynamics of your truck with a truck bed cover or a tonneau cover can make a big difference in fuel consumption. Covers like the Access Roll-Up Cover, manufactured by Agri-Cover Inc., a North Dakota truck accessory company, are a simple solution that will give you immediate gas mileage improvement. The roll-up cover is lockable, so it protects your gear and improves the look of your vehicle in addition to reducing drag


and bringing down your gas costs. Covers can be added easily with clamp-on installation and can be rolled up behind the cab when not in use. For more information on the Access Roll-Up Cover and to find out how much gas money you could save, visit www.accesscover.com. * Choose wisely: You’re typically given three options at the pump, with a trio of gasolines with different octane levels - and different prices. One of the simplest ways to cut costs is to opt for the lowest octane fuel that you can use in your vehicle. Making this change can save you hundreds of dollars per year, without sacrificing perfor- mance or gas mileage. * Give your vehicle a check-up: Maintenance and mileage can go hand in hand, so it’s important to make sure that your car is in shape for saving fuel. Check and change your oil regularly - it’s an essential component in reducing wear caused by friction between moving parts in the engine. If it’s not clean, or if levels are low, your vehicle won’t be performing as efficiently as possible. Equally important to getting good mileage is the air pres- sure in your tires, which should be at the manufacturer’s recommended levels (often listed on the driver’s side door frame). Proper inflation can improve your gas mile- age by up to 3 percent. A check of the air, oil and fuel filters should also be included in a check-up. Making adjustments to your vehicle and the way you


drive can be the best way to save yourself from going over budget on gasoline. Start with these tips and you’ll be able to enjoy the season the way you want to.


- ARA Content


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