Twenty years ago, nearly everyone bought their new cars directly from a
dealership and only those that were driving a car for business purposes
were leasing their vehicles. And now that the credit crunch appears to
be easing a little, leasing of vehicles is picking up again.
With so many vehicles to choose from, options to consider, price ranges
to determine and dealerships to find the excitement of finding a new car
can soon wear off. Auto analysts say that the recent recalls from Toyota,
General Motors, Honda and other manufacturers haven’t helped either
– it’s getting more difficult for prospective car buyers to
avoid buying a defective vehicle. According to Consumer Reports magazine
a recall doesn’t necessarily mean a model is unsafe, but on the
other hand finding a vehicle manufacturer that has had no recalls doesn’t
assure you that you are going to have a reliable, safe vehicle. So how
do you protect your investment and make sure your ride is safe?
Check the statistics: There is information about recalls, potential defects,
and complaints on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nhtsa.gov,
and the Center for Auto Safety at www.autosafety.org.
Tap into the Wisdom of Crowds: Go online and see what others are saying
about the make and model you plan to purchase. Social media is a wonderful
tool for getting information from people who have driven the car or had
an experience with the manufacturer. Go to message boards, groups or forums
where people talk about a specific make of car. Instead of going from
dealership to dealership spend your time online figuring out which vehicle
is best for you.
Read reviews online: Surveys indicate up to 90% of car buyers use the Internet
as part of the shopping process. Visit websites like Edmunds.com. Their
mission is to be America's most influential and authoritative source
and intermediary of automotive information. It’s a free information
site that can really help in the new car research process. You’ll
find new car reviews, prices, dealer incentives and financing. You can
compare up to five models side by side. Take advantage of sites like TheFordStory.com,
where members of the public can share ideas about the types of features
they would like to see in future car models.
Know the lemon law for your state: Every state has a law that protects
consumers against defective products and vehicles. Find out about the
law in your state and if you need assistance getting a lemon repaired
or replaced, talk to an experienced lemon law consumer advocate.