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Used car shopping can be a stressful exercise, particularly when you don’t know a lot about what to look for. Conducting some high-level research on one of the many Canadian consumer-based auto websites is a good place to start, as it will provide you with a broad overview of your available options before you begin to narrow your search.

Once you’ve short-listed a few potential vehicles, it’s time to start shopping.

“Shopping for a car should be fun,” says Westwood Honda’s General Manager, Colin Case. “If you keep a few things in mind, it takes the stress out of the process.”

If you’re in the market for a car, follow these 8 steps to a stress-free car buying experience:

·       Buy from a licensed dealer. This will ensure a certain level of protection, such as a warranty. And many dealerships offer certified used vehicles, which have undergone rigorous inspections and must meet a high standard before being made available for sale.

·       Do your research.Take the time to get online and look at the comparable models. Sites like Autotrader.ca will give you a very good feel for the prices in the market and give you an idea of what you should be paying.

·       Insist on a vehicle history report. Reports such as Carproof give a detailed history of the vehicle including accidents, repairs and ownership history. A reputable dealer should have this readily available and the really good ones will have it online for you to review.

·       Online Reputation matters. Check the internet for reviews from other consumers and you’ll get a very good idea if the dealer is someone you’ll be comfortable dealing with.

·       Look for vehicles that start immediatelyand idle smoothly once warm.

·       Check the steering. Make several turns in both directions and listen for unusual noises.

·       Try the transmission in every gear– look for smooth shifting- that means no grinding with a manual transmission. An automatic transmission should not allow excessive engine speeds between gears.

·       Get a feel for the brakes. They should feel firm and the car shouldn’t swerve when stopping abruptly.

Buying a used vehicle is about being comfortable,” says Case. “If anything about the sales process is making you uncomfortable, feel free to surface it. In the end, you want to get the vehicle that’s right for you, not the sales person.”

By Tri City News April 5, 2016

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