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NAPS - Getting a used car can be a great way to save--if you know what to look for:
* The mileage. Low mileage can be a good value--or a sign of odometer tampering. Make sure the wear and tear on the inside and outside of the car matches what the mileage reading says.
* Signs of accidents or other damage. More than half of the cars damaged by floods get cleaned up and returned to the road.
* Good maintenance. Get documentation on how often it was serviced.
* Curbstoners. Illegal dealers pose as private sellers to unload cars with hidden problems. Shop at reputable dealers.
* Open recalls. Nearly one in three recalled cars does not get fixed. You can check for recalls at recall.carfax.com. Franchise dealers will fix open recalls at no cost.
* Certified pre-owned. Certified pre-owned cars are the closest thing to new cars at used-car prices. Most manufacturer programs include a free Carfax Vehicle History Report, a trusted source of information for millions of used-car buyers.