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Tip #4 - Maintain Complete Vehicle Maintenance Records

Documenting the work that has done on your car is extremely important. You should never leave the car dealer without a detailed statement of what was done to your car. This written proof is integral towards keeping a well documented history of your car for future reference. Therefore, always insist on receiving a copy of the work orders for your records. Having these records on hand will make selling or trading in your car much easier later on.

FAQ #3 - What is a "Lemon?":

The American Heritage Dictionary defines a lemon as: "One that is or proves to be unsatisfactory…" (Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 2nd College Ed., © 1985). However, in an attemptt to further define such a broad definition, the Lemon Law defines certain situations which entitles car buyers to their money back or a replacement car. Simple said, any defect or nonconformity, or combination of defects, which is not repaired within a reasonable number of attempts or a reasonable amount of time, may entitle the car buyer to lemon law relief.

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Tip #3 - When buying or selling a used car:

When selling a vehicle, don't let a stranger take it for a test drive alone. If a prospective buyer wants to take the car to a mechanic for an appraisal, volunteer to deliver and pick up the car to a known mechanic shop. When buying a used car, be certain that the seller's name and address are verified, and be sure that the VIN on the registration is the same as the one on the car. Also make sure there is not a lien (loan) on the vehicle.


FAQ #5 - Online Car Buying

A few websites allow you to actually purchase a new or used car without leaving your home except for a trip to a dealership to pick up the car after the sale is finalized. Most of the sites that offer online car buying can quote you a price upfront - there is no waiting for a dealer to get back to you. Some sites allow you to complete financing documents at home before going to the dealer. The best part is that many car prices listed online are lower than the posted prices at the car dealership. The dealership will honor the lower price, giving you a much better deal without negociating.


US VIN Code Law (Courtesy of NHTSA)

Check your VIN Number History here or learn more about VIN law below.


Vehicle Identification Numbers VIN: Definitions.
Code of Federal Regulations
Title 49, Volume 5, Parts 400 to 999
Revised as of October 1, 2000
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
CITE: 49CFR565.3





(a) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards Definitions. Unless otherwise indicated, all terms used in this part that are defined in 49 CFR 571.3 are used as defined in 49 CFR 571.3.

(b) Body type means the general configuration or shape of a vehicle distinguished by such characteristics as the number of doors or windows, cargo-carrying features and the roofline (e.g., sedan, fastback, hatchback).

(c) Check digit means a single number or the letter X used to verify the accuracy of the transcription of the vehicle identification number.

(d) Engine type means a power source with defined characteristics such as fuel utilized, number of cylinders, displacement, and net brake horsepower. The specific manufacturer and make shall be represented if the engine powers a passenger car or a multipurpose passenger vehicle, or truck with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg. (10,000 lbs.) or less.

(e) Incomplete vehicle means an assemblage consisting, as a minimum, of frame and chassis structure, power train, steering system, suspension system and braking system, to the extent that those systems are to be part of the completed vehicle, that requires further manufacturing operations, other than the addition of readily attachable components, such as mirrors or tire and rim assemblies, or minor finishing operations such as painting, to become a completed vehicle.

(f) Line means a name that a manufacturer applies to a family of vehicles within a make which have a degree of commonality in construction, such as body, chassis or cab type.

(g) Make means a name that a manufacturer applies to a group of vehicles or engines.

(h) Manufacturer means a person-- (1) Manufacturing or assembling motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment; or (2) Importing motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment for resale.

(i) Model means a name that a manufacturer applies to a family of vehicles of the same type, make, line, series and body type.

(j) Model Year means the year used to designate a discrete vehicle model, irrespective of the calendar year in which the vehicle was actually produced, so long as the actual period is less than two calendar years.

(k) Plant of manufacture means the plant where the manufacturer affixes the VIN.

(l) Series means a name that a manufacturer applies to a subdivision of a ``line'' denoting price, size or weight identification and that is used by the manufacturer for marketing purposes.

(m) Trailer kit means a trailer that is fabricated and delivered in complete but unassembled form and that is designed to be assembled without special machinery or tools.

(n) Type means a class of vehicle distinguished by common traits, including design and purpose. Passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, buses, trailers, incomplete vehicles and motorcycles are separate types.

(o) VIN means a series of Arabic numbers and Roman letters that is assigned to a motor vehicle for identification purposes.

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