Buying a used car

What is the place to go online to find out if the car was in an accident, etc. I forgot the online site. Also, what is a great used car (names, models)

I have a used Camry 1998 bought at 80K and it is now 110 K and has been wonderful except for replacing timing belt.

Do yourself a big favor, and buy a copy of the Consumer Reports Used Car Buyers Guide, which is available at Barnes & Noble, Borders, and some newsstands. This contains historical reliability stats for essentially every make and model that was sold in the US marketplace over the past…10 years or so. It also contains lists of reliable makes and models in every price range.

Despite the helpful advice in that publication, be sure to have a potential purchase vetted by your mechanic, simply because the used car market is littered with poorly maintained “time-bombs” that will cost a new owner dearly. If you can obtain maintenance records, that is a HUGE plus.

As to services like Car Fax, I would suggest that you not rely very much on this type of information. More often than not, important information is NOT included in what Car Fax provides for you–their advertising notwithstanding. Lots of people have bought cars that had been in prior accidents, even though Car Fax did not reflect that information.

Your Camry has a long ways to go, why venture into the unknown…

Hi VDC driver,

Thanks for the info. I forgot about Consumers report. Will do. I am buying this used car for a friend. My Camry is going strong!


You are replacing the Camry because you needed a timing belt? 110K on a '98 Camry indicates a lot of useful life left in the car. You have about 70K miles before the next timing belt, why not keep the Camry?

Timing belt is routine maintenance.
Any used car you’re looking to buy should be checked out by a mechanic before you buy it, this could save you thousands in the long run.

I would use Car Fax, but only to see if they list a problem. If they do, skip that car. If they don’t list a problem, then you go to the next step, having a good mechanic you trust give the car a thorough inspection. You also want a car with complete repair records (not just the sellers/salesman’s assurance ‘it’s all been done’).