The Tips Bank 

               Questions and Answers for
           Saving Money on Transportation

                                        © 2005 by Kyle Busch,
                                        Adapted from "Drive the Best ..."

With a soft economy and an uncertain stock market, more and
more people are keeping an eye on spending and they are interested
in getting more for their money. Kyle Busch has over a quarter-century
of experience saving money on transportation. He answers ten commonly
asked questions about purchasing vehicles and saving money.

(Q)  Why does it make sense to consider buying used vehicles?

(A)  Transportation is a depreciating asset that loses value, 
      during the first three years of ownership. Buying a 2- to 3-
      year-old used vehicle will provide about a one-third reduction in
      the cost. Additionally, the initial owner will have "test driven" the
      vehicle for the second owner.

(Q)  What is a common error than many people make when buying

(A)  A common error when buying transportation involves buyers not
      thoroughly identifying their transportation needs and then purchasing
      a vehicle that does not entirely meet those needs. For example,
      a buyer might choose a mid-size family sedan that satisfies many
      of his or her needs. However, six months after the purchase, the
      buyer realizes that another vehicle in the same category provides
      a softer ride, better fuel economy, etc. and would have better
      satisfied his or her driving needs.

(Q)  After identifying transportation needs, what should buyers do next?

(A)  It is worthwhile to visit a local public library to research which
      vehicle(s) will indeed satisfy specific transportation needs and then
      identify those that have good reliability ratings.

(Q)  Is it best to buy a vehicle from a specific source?

(A)  Each transportation source has certain advantages and disadvantages.
      However, the important thing to keep in mind is that a number of vehicle
      sources should be considered (i.e., private owners, rental car
      companies, company vehicles, off lease vehicles, new car dealerships,
      bank repossessions, the Internet). When buyers inform a vehicle
      source that they are also considering the other sources, better
      deals are usually obtained.

(Q)  What questions should buyers ask by telephone to better determine
       if a vehicle is worth their time to investigate?

(A)  -  How many miles has the vehicle been driven
         (the average is about 11,000 to 12,000 miles
         per year)?

      -  Is the transmission an automatic, a semi-automatic,
         or a manual? If the transmission is not what the buyer
         wants, there is no need to ask further questions.

      -  Has the vehicle been repainted and if so, why?
         It is best to avoid repainted vehicles.

      -  When are the next state inspection and emissions
         standard test due? The vehicle should have a
         minimum of at least eight months remaining until
         the next required state inspection and
         emissions test.

      -  How often were the engine oil and the oil filter
         changed, and who performed the service?
         An acceptable answer would be every
         3,000 to 3,500 miles or about every
         three to four months.

      -  Are you the original owner of the vehicle?
         Original owners tend to take better care of

     -  What is the reason that the vehicle is being
        sold? It is encouraging if the individual is
        the original owner and if he or she is
        planning to again buy the same make of

(Q)  What if the owner is lying when answering questions
      about a vehicle?

(A)  It is worthwhile to obtain as much information about a
      vehicle as possible, therefore, buyers should ask questions.
      The interior and exterior inspections, and vehicle test-drive
      help to verify the information provided by the owner.

(Q)  How long should the vehicle test-drive take?

(A)  It is worthwhile to test-drive a vehicle for a minimum of 20 minutes
      on two separate occasions. The test-drive should include a variety
      of roads that buyers will drive day-in and day-out.

(Q)  Should buyers take a vehicle to a mechanic before making a

(A)  A mechanic should confirm what buyers have concluded after
      they have inspected and test-driven a vehicle. Buyers should
      request that the vehicle be raised on a lift for the mechanic's
      inspection and that the mechanic test-drives the vehicle.

(Q)  Of course buyers what to save money, but what protection
       do they have when purchasing a 2- to 3- year-old vehicle?

(A)  Most vehicles have manufacturers' bumper-to-bumper warranties
      of three years-36,000 miles or four years-50,000 miles in addition
      to five years-60,000 miles on the drive train (i.e., engine and
      transmission). The warranties are transferable to buyers who
      purchase the vehicles used. The warranties begin on the date
      that vehicles are first purchased from new car dealers. Thus,
      it is important to determine the date when a vehicle was
      initially purchased.

      Buyers best interests are also served when they have performed
      research to identify vehicles that have favorable reliability ratings.

(Q)  What is a long term benefit of saving one-third when buying vehicles?

(A)  The average new vehicle costs about $15,000 to $18,000. Most
      2- to 3- year-old vehicles will easily provide five or more years
      of trouble free driving. If buyers invest the savings (i.e., $5,000 to
      $6,000) and they are able to add $800 per year toward transportation,
      after a five-year period, they will have the money needed to purchase
      another 2- to 3- year-old vehicle without straining their budget.

For Additional Information:
Kyle Busch is the author of "Drive the Best for the Price: How to Buy
a Used Automobile, Sport-Utility Vehicle, or Minivan and Save Money."
1 800 839-8640 or The web site accepts
all transportation questions.

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